West Cancer Foundation Launches Cancer Research Campaign Honoring Memphis Pioneer

Jun 24, 2024 at 09:07 pm by pjeter


West Cancer Foundation, which funds research to improve cancer care and provides free cancer services to those in need, today announced the launch of the Lee S. Schwartzberg Endowed Research Program. The endowment will fund research projects focused on cancer treatments, patient-centered and value-based care, and factors that lead to disparities in outcomes.

A native of New York, Dr. Schwartzberg began his career at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where he planned to practice academic medicine. In 1987, he became acquainted with Dr. William West, who inspired him to bring clinical research to Memphis and West Cancer Center. At the time of his arrival, clinical research was exclusive to academic institutions. As a principal oncologist and innovative leader of West Cancer Center for more than 30 years, Dr. Schwartzberg was at the helm of adult cancer research. He has been instrumental in developing internationally recognized clinical research and innovative treatment protocols including:

  • Performing the first peripheral blood stem cell transplant in Memphis and one of the first in the nation.
  • Establishing the Mid-South’s first comprehensive program for genetic counseling and testing.
  • Founding the American Community Oncology Research Network (ACORN).
  • Co-developing the first distributed system for digitally collecting patient symptoms.

West Cancer Center recently dedicated the Lee S. Schwartzberg Research Institute at West Cancer Center. Dr. Schwartzberg currently serves as Section Chief, Medical Oncology, William N. Pennington Institute at Renown in Reno, Nev.

“Dr. Schwartzberg has changed the face of cancer care, not only in Memphis but for patients from around the world,” said West Cancer Foundation President Leighanne Soden. “His advancements in clinical cancer research and patient care have saved countless lives by providing innovative treatment protocols. We are honored to carry on his legacy and investigative work with this initiative.”

The campaign has set an initial goal of $3 million, and grants from the program will be available beginning in early 2025.

“Clinical research is the lifeblood of cancer care, opening doors every day to an improved understanding of cancer and its treatment,” said Dr. William West, founder of West Cancer Center. “Thanks to his intellect, leadership and commitment, Lee Schwartzberg gave the West Cancer Center and the Memphis community an invaluable gift: a clinical trial infrastructure that assures physicians and patients have access to the promising treatment options. His legacy will impact untold numbers of lives as we continue the never-ending search for cures.” 

For more information or to donate to the campaign, please click here

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