Stanford Cancer Institute News

Spring 2017

In Profile

Elizabeth Anderson

The Stanford Cancer Institute is pleased to welcome Elizabeth Anderson as the new Executive Administrative Director of the SCI Cancer Clinical Trials Office (CCTO).

The CCTO provides comprehensive administrative, study management and regulatory services to SCI investigators involved in the design and conduct of cancer-related clinical trials. (Clinical trials are carefully designed studies to determine the safety and efficacy of experimental cancer treatments and protocols, either through direct interaction with patients or through the collection and analysis of blood, tissues or other samples.) At any given time, the CCTO is administering hundreds of ongoing trials.

Asked to provide the focus of CCTO, Anderson was quick to reply, “First is protecting the safety and welfare of our trial subjects (cancer patients), and second is the integrity of our research data.”

Clinical research coordinators and medical staff administer interventions to participating patients, and closely monitor their health status and response to the interventions. They also meticulously gather and catalogue vast amounts of patient data, which is essential to determining each study’s outcomes.

Inclusion of underserved patients is an important part of the research mission so the CCTO staff work to increase awareness of and enrollment in cancer clinical trials through community outreach initiatives, including multilingual educational materials and active engagement in minority communities (which tend to have lower participation rates in trials).

With CCTO’s approximately 180 employees engaged in a range of complex and highly regulated activities and programs, Anderson stressed the need for teamwork, mutual support and compassion. “We are all in this together; we all have the same goal of providing the best support for our patients,” she said.

“We could not be happier that Elizabeth is leading the CCTO,” said SCI Director Beverly Mitchell, MD. “She combines tremendous experience, infectious energy and true compassion for our patients.”

Anderson grew up in the Boston area. She earned biology and nursing degrees, and embarked on a career in public health. This experience led to a position as a clinical research coordinator, which in turn led to subsequent clinical research operations positions with biotech companies based in Massachusetts.

“Through my industry experience, I have developed a business focus which is so important to bring to this position,” said Anderson.

She also brings highly applicable experience with clinical research in an academic setting, having overseen the cancer clinical research program at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) for the past six years. During that time OHSU’s cancer institute earned a “comprehensive” designation from the National Cancer Institute, as SCI did in 2016.

Anderson described being motivated by the complexity of cancer and by the opportunity to make a difference in a disease that so profoundly impacts both individuals and populations. In Stanford she appreciated the breadth and depth of the research programs and emphasis on and ability to translate laboratory discoveries to the clinic.

“Our goal is to have the strongest, most impactful clinical research portfolio available for our patients,” said Anderson. “That is going to help change the treatment of cancer, and that is why I do this every day.”