Scripps Health has named Dr. Brian F. Issell to fill the new position of Vice President of Clinical Research. An accomplished academic oncologist and clinical research leader, Dr. Issell will lead a new department dedicated to clinical research across the Scripps system.
Dr. Issell comes to San Diego from Hawaii where he is a researcher and professor of medicine and director of the clinical trials unit at the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii at the University of Hawaii. He also has served as director of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and Chief of the Division of Oncology of the Department of Medicine at the University of Hawaii.
Under his leadership, the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii was awarded a P 30 Cancer Center Support Grant and National Cancer Institute designation as a cancer center. In Hawaii, he also was Principal Investigator of the National Cancer Institute-sponsored, Hawaii Minority-Based, Community Clinical Oncology Program and Cancer Information Service-Pacific.
Prior to joining the University of Hawaii, Dr. Issell’s interests in the development of novel therapeutics to treat cancer led him to a 10-year career in the biopharmaceutical industry, initially with Bristol Myers in upstate New York and then Cetus Corporation (now Novatis) in Northern California. That work allowed Dr. Issell to assist in the development of multiple therapeutic agents in both oncology and infectious diseases. He combined this work with academic medical practice at the State University of New York Upstate Medical Center, Stanford University Medical Center and San Francisco General Hospital.
“Scripps is fortunate to have found someone of Dr. Issell’s experience and talent to lead our clinical research program,” said Scripps President and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “Clinical research has always been part of the Scripps mission and we are committed to improving the access that our patients in San Diego have to the latest clinical trials, which not only offer the potential to save lives but also improve the quality of life for those battling difficult diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.”
The Vice President of Clinical Research will develop research programs to expand access to clinical research for physicians and patients throughout the Scripps system. Scripps Health currently adds 100 new clinical trials a year at its five hospitals, the Scripps Clinic medical group and Scripps Cancer Center. In addition, there are major contributions from investigator-initiated research projects, some of which have produced new, state-of-the-art medical devices and technologies that are used worldwide. Dr. Issell will assume overall system-wide responsibility for the development and support for these research efforts at Scripps and continue the longstanding collaboration between Scripps Health and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).
“I am thrilled to be able to join Scripps, which is highly respected for the quality care it provides to patients,” Dr. Issell said. “As a researcher, it is particularly exciting to be able to help shape and build a new program by bringing together all of the excellent clinical research now under way across the Scripps system for the benefit of patients and physicians.”
Dr. Issell received his undergraduate and medical school degrees as well as his initial clinical training in internal medicine and medical oncology in his native New Zealand. In 1976, he emigrated to the United States and completed a medical oncology fellowship at M.D. Anderson Hospital/University of Texas, Houston. His work there included research on some of the most effective treatments we now have available for cancer and cancer-related infections.