Dr. Andrew Pippas, medical director of Columbus’ John B. Amos Cancer Center, has been named a Distinguished Cancer Scholar by the Georgia Cancer Coalition.
Pippas received a $500,000 grant, which will go toward enhancing the cancer center’s clinical trials program and other initiatives. The board-certified medical oncologist also serves as director of clinical oncology research at the Columbus facility.
“It’s a great privilege and honor,” Pippas said. “It’s not only an honor for myself. It’s an honor for the visionaries in Columbus who put together the cancer center years ago before I got here (and) who have nourished the cancer center.”
The grant will help fund the center’s existing clinical trials, specifically those related to gastrointestinal malignancies, a research interest of Pippas. The cancer center is currently running about 48 clinical trials, in areas such as leukemia, melanoma, lymphoma, and breast, cervical, colo-rectal and brain cancers.
“Clinical trials, to me, are the fundamental mechanism of improving cancer care,” Pippas said. It allows patients to receive cutting edge, state-of the art treatment before many others, he added.
Funds will also help expand the center’s multidisciplinary programs, which allow patients to see all their doctors during one visit in one place — rather than multiple visits to several locations. The Amos Cancer Center already has a program like that for breast care, and Pippas said he hopes he can expand that to colo-rectal and head and neck cancer patients.
Bill Todd, president and chief executive officer of the Georgia Cancer Coalition, commended Pippas’ work to help bring the next big improvement in cancer care to patients — right in their local communities.
“Dr. Pippas could be a faculty member anywhere,” Todd said. “But he has chosen to work in a community setting and we appreciate that.”
Pippas earned his medical degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City. He then went on for his residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Pippas spent some time in Lakeland, Fla., before coming to the Columbus cancer center seven years ago.
The Georgia Cancer Coalition is an independent nonprofit that brings together government agencies, academic institutions, civic groups, businesses and health-care facilities that want to strengthen cancer prevention, research and treatment in the state. The organization aims to reduce the number of cancer-related deaths in Georgia.
Over the past eight years, 150 clinicians and scientists have been recognized by the coalition through its Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists program.