Program Leader: Dr. Michael Wong, M.D., Ph.D.
The Goal : Cure Melanoma
The Melanoma Program brings the power of science, and the technical expertise and knowledge of the Norris team to focus on an individual with melanoma. It does this by seamlessly weaving together a Norris team that spans from diagnosis, to imaging and finally to treatment. This team includes important individuals such as pathologists and laboratory scientists that the patient may never see but who are essential to the final treatment plan.
Each individual is unique, and so the treatment plan is configured to address both the molecular and the human aspects. One of the unique features of the Norris approach is that it is multidisciplinary in that it brings-in the Medical, Surgical and Radiation services all at once to lay down a treatment plan for cure. Because much of this is centralized, the patient’s entire course of therapy can occur at the Norris.
If necessary, the Melanoma Program can bring the most current and ground breaking therapies to the patient through innovative clinical trials in melanoma coupled to a leading novel therapeutics Phase I program.
About Dr. Michael Wong
Michael K. K. Wong, leads the Melanoma Program and is professor of medicine and head of the Solid Tumors Section at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital.
Dr. Wong has a PhD in Experimental Pathology and was a National Cancer Institute of Canada Postdoctoral Scholar in the molecular biology of angiogenic cytokines. He is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. He has participated in many groundbreaking research funded projects His approach to cancer research is to focus on those patient pathways that allow a cancer to take hold in the body- and to modifying them in order to render the patient’s body hostile towards the tumor. In keeping with this, his basic and clinical research has focused on three major areas; angiogenesis, immunomodulation and tumor:matrix interactions.
Dr. Wong has served as the principle investigator in over 20 clinical trials and has served as co-investigator for 36 clinical trials. His laboratory work is highly focused on rapidly “translating” basic laboratory discoveries into usable, real-life applications. Thus his work has involved first-in-human clinical trials as well as entrepreneurial endeavors while never losing sight of the fact that at its core- it is all about people helping people in great need. And so his work spans the spectrum from basic laboratory discoveries to the importance of maintaining one’s humanity in treating individuals suffering from cancer.