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Claire Dees, MD, and Neil Hayes, MD, MPH, have been appointed as co-leaders of the Clinical Research Program at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Dees and Hayes have extensive and complementary expertise in translational and clinical research. As co-leaders of the Clinical Research Program, they will help plan the efforts of UNC Lineberger’s physician researchers to move discoveries into innovative trials of new therapeutic approaches.

As the bridge between the laboratory and the patient, clinical trials play a crucial role in the development and evaluation of new treatments, technology and diagnostics. For patients who have exhausted standard therapy, some trials can provide an avenue to novel drugs or devices not available elsewhere. The physicians and researchers at UNC Lineberger oversee over 200 clinical trials each year for a broad range of cancer types at the N.C. Cancer Hospital and at locations across the globe.

Shelley Earp, MD, director of UNC Lineberger and UNC Cancer Care, said, “Claire Dees and Neil Hayes are first and foremost great doctors. They have also built national reputations for their work in clinical and translational research. As co-leaders of the Center’s Clinical Research Program, they will help move the newest discoveries into clinical practice by designing and implementing innovation into our clinical trials program.

Lisa Carey, MD, Cancer Center Associate Director for Clinical Research and Physician in Chief at the N.C. Cancer Hospital, said “In the modern era, leaders in clinical research have to have expertise in performance and application of genetic techniques and tumor sequencing as well as expertise in design, performance, and analysis of clinical trials from the earliest testing through to FDA approval. Claire Dees and Neil Hayes have that kind of training and experience.”

As an active member of the UNC Breast Center, Dees chaired the breast cancer clinical trials group and leads the Lineberger Developmental Therapeutics Working Group. She chairs the Protocol Review Committee and the Protocol Specific Research core. She also serves as the medical director of the Clinical Trials Unit in the N.C. Cancer Hospital. Dr. Dees joined the University of North Carolina faculty in 1999. Before coming to UNC, she completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and her medical oncology fellowship training at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center where she worked with the Phase I trials group and the breast cancer program. She obtained a master’s degree in clinical investigations while at Hopkins.

Hayes served as national co-chair of the Data Analysis Sub-Group for The Cancer Genome Atlas Project at UNC and chairs the UNCSequencing Project (UNCseq). UNCseq serves as resource for patients with difficult to treat tumors, identifying and targeting the molecular weaknesses specific to the patient’s cancer. The ultimate aim for UNCseq is to provide every patient with tumor analyses that will allow their physicians to prescribe targeted and efficient therapies on an individualized basis.

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Hayes graduated from Davidson College coming to UNC School of Medicine in 2004. During his post-graduate training, he completed a Masters in Public Health at Harvard University, an internship at Boston University School of Medicine, a clinical fellowship at Tufts University Medical Center and a postdoctoral fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Date: 05/09/2013