Pioneer cancer researcher steps down from UA Cancer Center's top post

Published: Jun. 28, 2013 at 8:14 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 28, 2013 at 10:06 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Tucson pioneer in the fight against cancer is stepping down.

He's not giving up the fight, but he will be taking on a new role at the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

Dr. Dave Alberts is truly one of the treasures of Tucson.

He's a pioneer in cancer research, especially in prevention.

Friday was his final day as director of the UA Cancer Center that he helped build.

He has been there from the beginning.

Some of the most innovative treatments and prevention strategies in cancer have come from the mind of this man.

"What we're really talking about is saving lives," Dr. Alberts says.

After 8 years, at the helm of the cancer center, Dr. Alberts is stepping back into a role he loves.

He will continue to pursue research and education, especially in cancer prevention.

"I want to help our cancer prevention programs continue to expand. As I said, we're the only cancer center in the country where the largest scientific program is cancer prevention and control," Dr. Alberts says.

"My own feeling is that we're never going to get control of the cancer problem nationally unless we put much more effort into prevention and control issues."

He says cancer prevention gets very little funding "which is all wrong."

Dr. Alberts is proud of the expansion of the cancer center in Tucson and across the state.

That includes the $100 million dollar clinical facility that will be on the University of Arizona College of Medicine and Phoenix Biomedical campus.

Because of his ideas, we have groundbreaking or preventive treatments in ovarian, colon and skin cancers.

Personalized cancer treatment research is very popular now, but Dr. Alberts was involved in it since the beginning, back in the 70's.

As he leaves the director's post, Dr. Alberts will continue his dedication to making sure the work continues for generations.

"I have a passion for young people and getting them trained to be the next cancer preventionists," he says.

Dr. Alberts' unending battle to end cancer has won him national and international acclaim, but his family, his heart, his work are here.

"My passion is for the people of Arizona to benefit from the discoveries that occur every day in this wonderful University of Arizona Cancer Center," he says.

Dr. Alberts has been recognized time and time again as one of the top clinical researchers in the country.

We'll keep in touch with him as he continues his work.

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