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Dr. Richard Jordan Assumes Directorship of RTOG Biospecimen Resource

November 1, 2011

Richard JordanThe Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) announced that Richard Jordan, DDS, PhD, FRCPath will direct the RTOG Biospecimen Resource housed at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Jordan is a professor of oral pathology, pathology and radiation oncology at UCSF and is Director of the Oral Pathology Diagnostic Laboratory and the UCSF Oral Cancer Tissue Bank. Jordan assumes the directorship with the departure of Fredric Waldman, MD, who was instrumental in bringing the program to UCSF in 2008.

“Being part of Dr. Waldman’s team to design the program’s framework was a great experience, and my involvement in its continued growth has been professionally rewarding,” says Jordan who has served as co-director of the RTOG Biospecimen Resource along with Jeffry Simko, MD (University of California, San Francisco) who continues in this role and whose research focus is genitourinary cancer. Jordan and Simko work closely with Ken Aldape MD (M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston) whose research interest is brain cancer and Anthony Magliocco, MD (Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa) RTOG Pathology Committee Chair. Jordan also serves as the pathology chair for several RTOG clinical trials and, in particular, has contributed to recent studies identifying the important role the human papilloma virus (HPV) plays in a subset of patients with head and neck cancer.

Jordan's research focus is on precursors to oral cancer and head and neck cancer, with a particular interest in biomarkers of oral cancer development and prognosis. He has authored over 100 research publications and book chapters, as well as the most widely used oral pathology textbook worldwide. Jordan cites his involvement in research that makes a difference in people’s lives as a significant motivation for him to take on the leadership role. “Witnessing the tremendous impact of RTOG’s research is the most exciting aspect of this role. For example, confirmation that patients with HPV-positive head and neck cancer have improved overall survival outcomes has led to further clinical trial research that we hope will lead to better treatment options for these patients.”

Looking ahead to key program goals, Jordan mentions the need to start planning for RTOG’s alliance with the National Surgical Adjuvant Bowel and Breast Project (NSABP). “Under the direction of Soonmyung Paik, MD, the NSABP has a robust tissue bank program and a well developed translational research program. Charting a course to insure well-planned integration of repository databases is an important short-term goal,” says Jordan.

With the rapid expansion of translational research (translating basic research findings more quickly and efficiently into medical practice), Jordan stresses the importance of developing new strategies to do more with less. “The demand for tissue and other specimens is increasing exponentially and, since biospecimens are not a renewable resource, we will need to be vigilant in identifying new technologies which maximize these precious resources,” says Jordan.

“RTOG’s Translational Research Program is growing and thriving, and the RTOG Biorepository Resource has played a critical role in its progress,” says Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, RTOG Group Chair and Executive Director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta. “Dr. Waldman established an outstanding program foundation at UCSF and introduced enhanced operational efficiency with the support of a great team. I am exceptionally pleased that Dr. Jordan has agreed to direct future operations, and I’m confident his stewardship of this resource will be a significant program asset.”

Source: Radiation Therapy Oncology Group press release

Pictured

Richard Jordan DDS PhD FRCPath

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Radiation Therapy Oncology Group