Thomas Jefferson University

A Brief History

Arthur Weiss

Jefferson has had a long and distinguished record of cancer care and innovation for nearly a century, establishing specialty tumor clinics, becoming an early member and supporter of cooperative cancer therapy groups, and establishing an early site for clinical drug evaluation in partnership with NCI. Medical Oncology became a formal division at Jefferson within in the Department of Medicine in 1961. Its Directors have included Arthur Weiss, MD (1961-1970), Chester Southam, MD (1970-1980), William F. Delaney, MD (interim 1980-1981), J. Frederick Laucius, MD (interim 1981-1984), Michael J. Mastrangelo(1984-1993), Robert Comis (1993-1997), Bruce Boman (1997-2001), and Neal Flomenberg (2001-2006). Since its inception, the major activities of the Division have been patient care, teaching, research, and the training of medical oncology fellows.

In July 2006, the division of Medical Oncology became an official Department in Jefferson Medical College. Dr. Neal Flomenberg was named as the first chairman of the Department in January 2008. The department has grown from 15 faculty members in 2008 to 41 by September 2011 and has established 4 divisions. The division of Hematologic Malignancies and Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation is directed by Dr. Pierluigi Porcu. The division of Solid Tumor Oncology is directed by Dr. Wm. Kevin Kelly. The division of Population Science is directed by Dr. Ronald Myers. The division of Regional Cancer Care is directed by Dr. Allison Zibelli.

Medicine will change substantially over the next decade due to both scientific progress and socioeconomic forces. Our department is trying to anticipate the impact of these changes and keep pace with them going forward. While scientific gains will come from many areas, the potential to routinely sequence both the normal and cancer genomes is likely to become a reality over the next decade resulting in a flood of new genetic information and major opportunities to tailor care for each patient. Quality and cost effectiveness of care will become increasingly important. Enhancing accessibility to care through evening and weekend services, facilitating rapid access to care when new problems arise (urgent care), and development of an oncology patient centered medical home model for cancer patients will be important approaches to further enhance care quality going forward. Tomorrow's department will look quite different than today's. Regardless, we will continue to endeavor to give our patients the best we can today and something better tomorrow.