Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center's first National Cancer Institute core grant and NCI designation, Bassel El-Rayes, M.D., joined the O'Neal Cancer Center in January 2022 to serve as the Cancer Center's new deputy director.

Story by Anna Waters •

Photo by Julie Cole Miller  

Bassel El-Rayes, M.D., recently joined UAB as director of the Division of Hematology & Oncology and as deputy director of the O’Neal Cancer Center.

O'Neal Cancer Center Deputy Director Bassel El-Rayes, M.D. (Photo by Julie Cole Miller)

El-Rayes attended medical school at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and then completed his residency and fellowship at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where he later joined the faculty. There, El-Rayes led the Data Safety Monitoring Committee, which oversaw clinical trials to ensure patient safety.

In 2009, El-Rayes joined Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University, where he served as director of the gastrointestinal oncology program, associate director for clinical research and vice chair for clinical research.

“I spent part of my time focused on the development of new treatments, understanding the biology of pancreas cancer and knowing how to translate that into new therapies, and I spent the other part of my time thinking about how to build an infrastructure that will enhance clinical trials and that will enable us to conduct trials in a way that's safe, effective and compliant with ethical and legal regulations,” El-Rayes said.

In his role as deputy director of the O'Neal Cancer Center, El-Rayes says he hopes to facilitate improvement in cancer care for patients and to bolster clinical trials.

The Big C

Learn more from O’Neal Cancer Center Deputy Director Bassel El-Rayes, M.D., on the evolution of cancer treatments, the importance of clinical trials and the role of chemotherapy cancer care.

“I want the patient to have access to the full spectrum so that they can select whether they want to go with standard therapies or they want to go with something more novel, more new, that incorporates new ideas, new treatments," he said. “The ideal situation is to have a clinical trials office that can support research that will allow us to offer every patient we see the option of a clinical trial.”



This story originally ran in the Spring 2022 issue of the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center magazine. Learn more about the history of the O'Neal Cancer Center in this special, commemorative issue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cancer Center.

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