SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 28, 2020) — Ruben Mesa, MD, FACP, has been named executive director of the Mays Cancer Center. His appointment includes academic and research programming, as well as leading the cancer center’s patient care and clinical programs of the UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson affiliation.
Dr. Mesa’s appointment broadens the scope of responsibility in coordinating and integrating all aspects of cancer prevention, screening, care and survivorship with practice, education and research across UT Health San Antonio.
Dr. Mesa will also lead the integration and development of the inpatient cancer services for the new UT Health San Antonio Multispecialty and Research Hospital. This expanded appointment is part of the organization’s longer-term strategy for the Mays Cancer Center to earn comprehensive status from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The cancer center is already an NCI-designated Cancer Center, which confirms it has met extensive NCI standards for cancer prevention, clinical services and research. Earning comprehensive status signifies that additional rigorous NCI standards are met in all three categories.
“As executive director, Dr. Mesa will represent the Mays Cancer Center and UT Health San Antonio in advancing its mission to reduce the burden of cancer with regional, state and national entities to grow the center’s national footprint and impact,” said Rob Hromas, MD, FACP, dean of the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine.
Mesa brings more than 25 years of clinical oncology translational research experience to this expanded role serving as an international expert on myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) and bringing numerous patient-centered research programs to the community. Dr. Mesa has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator of more than 90 clinical trials for patients and has led research teams that have obtained FDA approval for several new cancer drugs.
“Dr. Mesa’s expertise in early phase clinical research as well as his knowledge in the oncology community, particularly the growing needs of our region’s unique and diverse population, makes him an excellent selection for this expanded and important role,” said William Henrich, MD, MACP, president of UT Health San Antonio. “We will continue to expand research activities at the cancer center and through this new inpatient facility, which is critical for translating new therapies from research to patient care, and delivering next-generation treatments for patients in our community.”
As part of its broad mission and to best meet the unique needs of the region’s Latino-majority population, the Mays Cancer Center serves to advance the science of cancer in Latinos with novel studies and programs. Dr. Mesa is one of very few Latino directors of an NCI-designated center in the U.S.
About Dr. Mesa
Dr. Mesa earned his Bachelor of Science degrees in nuclear engineering and physiology, with minors in radiation biophysics and bioengineering, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his medical degree, completed his residency in internal medicine and fulfilled his fellowship in hematology/medical oncology from the Mayo Graduate School at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and medical oncology.
He began his career in 1991 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where he worked for 18 years before moving eight years ago to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona as chairman of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology. During that time, the division doubled the number of physicians, allied health staff and nurse practitioners, while quadrupling its patient care activities and research funding.
He was named deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in 2012. The organization developed Arizona’s largest stem cell transplant program, brought in state-of-the-art proton beam therapy, and maintained the broadest and deepest clinical trial portfolio for cancer patients in the state. During that time, the Arizona Mayo campus became a partner organization of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and Association of American Cancer Institutes.
Dr. Mesa has been involved in MPN research for more than 20 years. With more than 350 peer-reviewed scientific publications, Dr. Mesa has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator of more than 90 clinical trials for patients with MPN or other myeloid disorders. He served as chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s panel that published the first U.S. guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms.
He was a major research leader contributing to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of ruxolitinib for polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis. He is leading the investigation of several other drugs for these types of cancers. He is co-principal investigator of the NCI program project grant-funded MPN Research Consortium, he serves on the executive committee of the board of directors for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, chairs the standing science and education committee for the International Society of Hematology and has held leadership roles with the American Society of Hematology.
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The Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, is one of only four National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in Texas. The Mays Cancer Center provides leading-edge cancer care, propels innovative cancer research and educates the next generation of leaders to end cancer in South Texas. Visit www.UTHealthSAMDAnderson.org.