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A message from the Chief

Dr. Edward L. Nelson, Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology
University Healthcare Communications
Dr. Edward L. Nelson, Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology

The Division of Hematology Oncology at UC Irvine's School of Medicine is dedicated to providing the highest quality state-of-the-art patient care, to training highly skilled future hematologists and oncologists and to conducting the most advanced research in blood disorders and cancer. Our superb, academically oriented faculty members are breaking new ground in a number of areas, including new approaches to preventing, detecting, and treating hematologic and oncologic disorders.

The Hematology/Oncology Division is an integral part of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated  comprehensive cancer center in Orange County. Our involvement in the cancer center provides our patients with access to cutting edge treatments along with the most advanced technologies for monitoring and individualizing cancer treatment. We work together as a team with the laboratory scientists in the cancer center to push back the frontiers of cancer research and cancer care focusing on such fields as carcinogenesis, growth factors and signaling, angiogenesis, tumor biology and immunology.

At any one time, the Division of Hematology Oncology is conducting 20 to 30 leading-edge clinical trials to benefit our patients. These trials may be sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the pharmaceutical industry or they may be initiated by individual investigators. All undergo rigorous scientific review and stringent ethical oversight. We are committed to conducting only those clinical studies that meet the highest ethical standards and benefit our patients.

We are the first practice in California—the first academic practice and the first Hematology/Oncology practice affiliated with a NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center— to be certified under the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program, which is conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the organization that sets the standards for cancer care. This certification recognizes oncology practices that meet rigorous standards for high-quality cancer care.

We collaborate closely with the university's surgical and radiation oncologists. Areas of significant strength include the treatment of:

  • Hematologic malignancies such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma
  • Colon and rectal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Cancers of the lung, head and neck

In addition, our clinical care includes cancer prevention and such novel diagnostics as laser-based imaging for breast cancer detection.

Our subspecialty-trained, board-certified hematologists and oncologists provide expert clinical care for patients with all types of cancers and blood disorders, both malignant and benign, including platelet disorders and problems with blood coagulation and iron metabolism.

As a division of UC Irvine's Department of Medicine, the faculty members in Hematology/Oncology work with the medical students and residents who rotate through our clinical services. But their primary focus is on our rigorous, three-year fellowship program, which is certified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Our fellows receive intensive clinical training in the diagnosis and treatment of blood disorders and cancers of every organ system at UC Irvine's Douglas Hospital and the adjacent cancer center in Orange, as well as at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System. They also gain invaluable experience dealing with patients of all ages and walks of life.

The second year of fellowship is typically devoted to research experience in either basic or clinical science laboratories. It may include the study of molecular pathogenesis, cancer prevention, genetics, immunology, viral oncogenesis, epidemiology or a variety of other disciplines of the fellow's choice. By the end of this rotation, fellows are expected to prepare papers for presentation at national and regional meetings and manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed medical journals.

The goal of our fellowship program is to produce excellent clinicians with a deep understanding of the research aspects of cancer medicine, which is vital for providing the highest quality of care to hematology or oncology patients in the future and for those select few pursuing an academic career.

Above all, we in the Division of Hematology/Oncology are dedicated to delivering unparalleled care to our patients.