Los Angeles,
09:38 AM

Top Cancer Clinician-Scientist Appointed Director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer

Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, is Known for Translating Science into Novel Medicines and Biomarkers for Clinical Applications

Renowned cancer clinician and scientist Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, has been named director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer. 

Theodorescu, a nationally recognized translational cancer researcher and leading expert in bladder cancer, will direct the oncology enterprise at Cedars-Sinai known for quality of clinical care, integration of services across a growing network of providers, and the breadth of research programs charting new therapeutic frontiers.

Theodorescu, who assumes his post July 1, brings to Cedars-Sinai a compelling vision for leading what he sees as three revolutions shaping modern cancer care: using precision medicine strategies to personalize treatments, tapping "big data" to solve difficult research and treatment questions, and employing population health ideas to improve the lot of entire populations while reducing health inequities among groups.

He will tap decades of cancer leadership experience to lead Cedars-Sinai's expanding cancer footprint and achieve National Cancer Institute eligibility, with an integrated program across Cedars-Sinai that addresses unmet population and scientific needs.

"As a highly accomplished clinician-scientist who has made major cancer therapeutic discoveries, Dr. Theodorescu is an ideal national leader to propel our flourishing clinical, research and community cancer program to further levels of excellence in quality management and outstanding scholarship," said Shlomo Melmed, MD, executive vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the Medical Faculty at Cedars-Sinai.

"We are delighted that his strategic vision and proven talents will enable us to achieve premier ranking for Cedars-Sinai Cancer as we continue to serve our patients and significantly advance the boundaries of cancer care," Melmed added.

Theodorescu has served since 2010 as director of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center, a statewide consortium of three universities and three academic teaching hospitals. He also has been a professor of Surgery and Pharmacology in the system. During his eight years at the University of Colorado, he has overseen the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the state, and twice led the successful renewal of the center's NIH/NCI Cancer Center Support Grant. He led the initiative to bring the cancer center into the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the effort to secure state funding for the center.

In his university post, Theodorescu translated science into novel medicines and biomarkers for clinical applications. That success will serve him well at Cedars-Sinai, where he will be responsible for leading and managing a complex and growing integrated cancer program, which includes faculty physicians and investigators, affiliated cancer medical groups across the Los Angeles area and community medical staff.

Theodorescu said he is eager to bring his passion for laboratory science, clinical practice, academic administration and community outreach skills to Cedars-Sinai.

"I'm excited to join a great institution that can be instrumental in the revolutions that are shaping 21st-century cancer medicine," Theodorescu said. "Cedars-Sinai is poised to have a major impact in healthcare through research discoveries and their clinical implementation."

Theodorescu said his strong motivation to enact change began at age 7 when his family emigrated from Romania to Canada. His educator parents instilled in him "a sense of unbridled optimism and a determination to seize opportunities to contribute to society," prompting his lifelong interest in scientific discoveries.

In the laboratory, Theodorescu is known for his work on the molecular mechanisms underlying bladder cancer and translating these into therapeutic approaches. He also contributed precision medicine approaches such as the CO-Expression Extrapolation, or "COXEN" tool, which personalizes cancer therapy by identifying drugs that likely will be effective in patients based on genomic characteristics of their tumors. Theodorescu's laboratory has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and other prestigious grants for more than two decades.

Theodorescu has published more than 300 articles in journals such as Nature, Science, Cancer Cell and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. He is the founding co-editor in chief of Bladder Cancer, the first journal of its kind. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and the American Society for Clinical Investigations, and serves on the National Cancer Policy Forum of the National Academies.

Over the course of his professional life, he has maintained a commitment to train and mentor a new generation of residents, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Many hold faculty positions in departments of medicine at prestigious U.S. institutions. Theodorescu also has advanced women and underrepresented minorities in career development and academic medicine pathways.

"Dr. Theodorescu's many accomplishments will serve him well as he charts a new and ever more ambitious course for our cancer program at Cedars-Sinai," said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO. "We look forward to what this will mean for translating science into therapies and treatments that offer patients new options and hope. We could not be more delighted to welcome Dr. Theodorescu to Cedars-Sinai."

Photo of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute by Cedars-Sinai. Photo of Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, courtesy of University of Colorado.