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Leaders in Personalized Precision Medicine

Clinical Trials Research Team

Cancer Center Clinical Trials & Research Team

The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials team is led by world-renowned cancer researcher Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, chief scientific officer for the Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute and physician-in-chief for TGen. With 70 years of collective experience in clinical trials among our physicians and nurse practitioners, our dedicated team of physicians, scientists, nurse practitioners, nurses and support personnel is known for its expertise and shares the common goal of finding new effective treatments for cancer.

The Gold Standard of Patient Care

Scottsdale Healthcare Magnet Recognition

Scottsdale Healthcare is the only multi-hospital health system in Arizona to receive Magnet recognition, considered the gold standard in nursing and patient care. We are the first health system in Arizona and one of approximately 21 in the country to achieve this status for the entire organization.

 

Meet Our Research Team

Daniel Von Hoff, MD, FACP
Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff, Physician-in-Chief at TGENDr. Daniel D. Von Hoff is Physician-in-Chief and Distinguished Professor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). He is also chief scientific officer for the Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute, as well as clinical professor of medicine at University of Arizona and chief scientific officer for US Oncology. 

Especially interested in developing new anticancer agents, Dr. Von Hoff and his colleagues have been involved in the development of many agents now used routinely. At present, they are focused on the development of molecular targeted therapies. 

Dr. Von Hoff's laboratory interests and contributions have been in the area of in vitro drug sensitivity testing to individualize patient treatment. His laboratory is now concentrating on discovering new targets in pancreatic cancer. 

In addition to being a mentor and teacher for medical students, oncology fellows, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, Dr. Von Hoff has published 129 book chapters, more than 531 manuscripts and 902 abstracts. He is the founder and editor emeritus of Investigational New Drugs – The Journal of New Anticancer Agents, as well as editor-in-chief of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

Dr. Von Hoff was appointed to President Bush’s National Cancer Advisory Board. He is the past president of the American Association for Cancer Research, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a member and past board member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Michael J. Gordon, MD
Medical Director

Dr. Gordon is medical director of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials program at Scottsdale Healthcare. He oversees the center’s internationally recognized Phase I clinical trials program, which is known for its leadership in first-in-human studies of new cancer therapies.

Dr. Gordon is a medical oncologist who serves as CEO of Pinnacle Oncology Hematology, a division of Arizona Center for Cancer Care, in Scottsdale, focusing on translational research and the care and management of cancer patients seeking phase I and phase II clinical trials. He is a Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix, and is actively engaged in the education of medical students as co-director of the Oncology Block.

Dr. Gordon’s principal research interests are in development of new cancer therapies with a focus on targeted and immunologic therapies as well as drugs that affect angiogenesis (tumor blood vessel supply). Avastin®, Perjeta® and Neumega® are among the drugs Dr. Gordon has helped validate for FDA approval. His disease focuses include kidney cancer, melanoma, prostate cancer, lung cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) and ovarian cancer.

Erkut Borazanci, MD

Drug Development Scholar

Erkut Borazanci, MDErkut Borazanci, MD joins the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials team as a Drug Development Scholar. Dr. Borazanci recently finished his oncology fellowship training at LSU Health Shreveport. Prior to his medical education and training, Dr. Borazanci obtained his master’s degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with emphasis on the study of gene expression in prostate and ovarian cancer. 

Dr. Borazanci’s research interests include developing new therapies for cancer, especially for the difficult to treat cancers involving the pancreas and other gastrointestinal malignancies. Dr. Borazanci’s goal is to combine his experience in the laboratory and in clinical oncology to pursue new therapies, and is excited to become a part of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials research team.

Samuel Ejadi, MD
Associate Clinical Investigator

Samuel Ejadi, MDDr. Ejadi is a board-certified medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of melanomas and genitourinary cancers. His areas of interest also include treatment for a variety of sarcomas, neuroendocrine tumors and various solid organ cancers. He also has a strong interest in the history and theory of tumor immunology and extensive experience with clinical trials targeting the cells of the immune system to treat cancers. 

Dr. Ejadi received his medical degree from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He obtained his internal medicine training at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and then completed his fellowship in medical oncology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He also completed additional training in anatomic pathology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and nutritional science from the University of Illinois. Dr. Ejadi previously worked as a medical oncologist and assistant professor of medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Mayo Clinic, where he was an integral part of research and clinical trials on development of new cancer treatments.

Jasgit Sachdev, MD
Associate Clinical Investigator

Jasgit Sachdev, MDJasgit Sachdev, MD is a clinical investigator specializing in breast medical oncology. Dr. Sachdev consults on patients with breast and gynecologic cancers to evaluate them for phase I trials of novel agents with potential activity in these malignancies. She also provides consultations for complex and hard-to-treat breast cancer cases.

Dr. Sachdev has been actively engaged in clinical and translational research with a particular focus in triple negative breast cancer, and has served as the principal investigator on several cooperative group, industry and investigator-initiated clinical trials.

She completed her internal medicine residency training in Phoenix and her fellowship in hematology and oncology in Tennessee. She served as assistant professor in the Hematology Oncology Division at University of Tennessee in Memphis for four years prior to relocating to Phoenix and joining the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.

In addition to being an active member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) breast cancer panel for clinical guidelines development, Dr. Sachdev is a member of the breast committee for the South West Oncology Group. She is an ad hoc reviewer for journals such as Clinical Breast Cancer, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research and others. Dr. Sachdev has presented several abstracts and posters at national meetings and published peer-reviewed manuscripts related to breast cancer.

Manpreet Chadha, MD
Sub-Investigator

Dr. Chadha completed medical school at Maulana Azad Medical College and her internship in 2001 at Lok Nayak Hospital, Delhi, India. She was honored with multiple gold medals and the “Dharamvir Gold Medal” for overall academic excellence. She then completed her residency in internal medicine in Buffalo, New York, and a medical oncology fellowship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, which is among the oldest National Cancer Institute’s prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S.

Thereafter, she worked as an attending physician at Roswell Park Cancer Institute with the Genitourinary team as ‘ProstatePros’ provider and in Head and Neck malignancies multidisciplinary clinic. She actively participated in phase II and III clinical trials for patients with advanced malignancies. In 2010, Dr. Chadha relocated to Phoenix. She currently works a sub-investigator at the Virginia G Piper Cancer Center.

Dr. Chadha has 15 publications, 2 book chapter and 19 poster abstracts in national meetings. She is active member of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), American Association of Clinical Research (AACR), and American College of Physicians (ACP), The Arizona Clinical Oncology Society (TACOS) and Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC).

Mahesh Seetharam, MD, FACP
Sub-Investigator

Dr. Seetharam specializes in hematology and medical oncology. He received his medical degree from Government Medical College in Mysore, India and completed an internship in internal medicine in the United Kingdom. He then went on to complete his residency at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York, followed by a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at Stanford University Hospital.

During his fellowship, Dr. Seetharam served as an investigator on multiple clinical trials for patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, and presented his work at the annual American Society of Hematology meetings. He has written a phase II protocol for Ewing's sarcoma, which is currently in the approval process. Dr. Seetharam is a member of the American Society of Hematology and American Society of Clinical Oncology, and is board-certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology.

Molly Downhour, MHA, BSN, OCN
Director of Operations

Molly Downhour, MHA, BSN, OCNMolly serves as the practice manager for Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials. After graduating from the University of Arizona’s College of Nursing with her BSN in 1998, she continued her education by earning her Master’s in Healthcare Administration in 2010 from the University of Phoenix. Molly has been an oncology nurse since 2000 and has maintained her oncology nurse certification since 2002.

Molly began her journey in oncology phase I clinical trials in 2003 as a senior research nurse with the University of Arizona, located at the Scottsdale site in the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center. She transitioned to Scottsdale Healthcare in 2006 shortly after the newly created partnership between Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen was formed. Since then, Molly has held positions such as research nurse specialist, nursing supervisor, infusion nurse, assistant manager and her current position as manager.

Gayle Jameson, MSN, ACNP, AOCN
Director, Supportive Care Program, Assistant Investigator 

Gayle Jameson, MSN, ACNP, AOCNGayle Jameson is a nurse practitioner who has cared for adults living with cancer for more than 30 years. She is certified as an Advanced Oncology Nurse (AOCN). 

Keenly interested in symptom management, Gayle leads the Supportive Care Division of Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute, where research priorities include muscle weakness, fatigue, weight loss, anorexia and pain associated with cancer and/or related treatments. Gayle collaborates on all ongoing clinical trials and serves as co-principal investigator on the first supportive care trial at Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute with Eli Lilly. 

Prior to joining Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute, she held various nursing positions at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Later as a nurse practitioner, Gayle was employed at Medical Center Clinic, P.C. and Allegheny Hematology Oncology Associates in Pittsburgh. 

She earned her nursing diploma at St. Francis Hospital, New Castle, PA, and her baccalaureate and master's degrees in nursing at University of Pittsburgh. She is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AACN), and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Gayle also has been an active volunteer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America and the American Cancer Society.

Cathy Mast, APRN-BC, AOCNP
Nurse Practitioner , Sub-Investigator

Cathy Mast, APRN-BC, AOCNPCathy Mast has been in the heath care setting for many years. She has a broad background in nursing including intensive care, emergency care and pediatrics. She became a Nurse Practitioner in the early 1990's and worked in primary care as a Family Practitioner. Cathy transitioned to hematology and oncology in Vail, Colorado where she worked as a Nurse Practitioner in an outpatient oncology center. Cathy became boarded as an Oncology Nurse Practitioner while practicing in Colorado. Cancer care has become a professional passion and TGen fits in with that passion beautifully. Working toward a goal of curing cancer and being part of that endeavor is a privilege as well as a pleasure.


Joyce Schaffer, RN, MSN, AOCNS
Oncology Nurse Navigator

Joyce Schaffer, RN, MSN, AOCNSJoyce Schaffer received her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. Master of Science in Nursing was obtained from University of Phoenix. She began her nursing career at Goshen General Hospital in Goshen, IN and transitioned to Scottsdale Healthcare in 1990. 

Joyce Schaffer currently works as an Oncology Nurse Navigator with the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials program. Joyce provides clinical trials education to individuals with cancer who have not responded to standard therapy. She advises their physicians regarding how and when clinical trials can play a vital role in their quality and quantity of life. 

Former responsibilities have included primary care for ortho/neuro and oncology patients; Nursing Supervisor; Administrative Representative for Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center; RN Case Manager; Cancer Care Coordinator; Clinical Trial Infusion Nurse.

Dawn Bassett, BSN, OCN
Oncology Nurse Navigator 

Dawn Bassett, BSN, OCNDawn received her Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Scottsdale Community College in 1991, followed by her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from University of Phoenix in 2004. She is scheduled to complete her Master’s of Science in Nursing with an emphasis in education in the spring of 2014 from Grand Canyon University.

Dawn worked for many years in maternal child health at Maricopa Medical Center prior to transferring to Scottsdale Healthcare. She began working at Scottsdale Healthcare in 2006 in the Oncology Unit at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, and then transferred to the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials as a research nurse in 2008.

Dawn transitioned to Oncology Nurse Navigator in May of 2013. She provides education to her patients and the community as a whole in regards to clinical trial participation.

Contact Us

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us as we will help guide you in the right direction.

To learn more about clinical trials available at Scottsdale Healthcare, contact our Oncology Nurse Navigators at 

480-323-1339 (toll free: 1-877-273-3713) or e-mail   clinicaltrials@shc.org.