Chapter 20:  Contributions to MD Anderson

Chapter 20: Contributions to MD Anderson



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Dr. Cox talks about his contributions to MD Anderson: he spurred clinical research and therefore contributed to the care of patients. Administratively he believes he helped foster collegiality across departments and division, making faculty comfortable with multi-disciplinary work styles. Dr. Cox recalls that Gilbert Fletcher set a very high standard for radiation oncology at MD Anderson. Dr. Cox says that he has contributed to maintaining that stature, one that differs from any other cancer center in the world.



Publication Date



Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview Subject's Story - View of Career and Accomplishments; Contributions; Activities Outside Institution; Career and Accomplishments; The MD Anderson Brand, Reputation; The Researcher; Institutional Mission and Values; Portraits; Personal Reflections on MD Anderson; Personal Reflections on MD Anderson


Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I am aware that we are running over, so I wanted to ask you just a couple final questions. First of all, is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience at MD Anderson, your contributions?

James D. Cox, MD:

I am a realist. I have done a lot at Anderson, and I have done a lot of which I am very proud of. On the other hand, when I have gone as one of the annual meet the professors at our national meeting and they are all residents sitting around a table—residents who are not from MD Anderson, and so I ask them, “So who was Gilbert Fletcher?” They don’t know. “Who was Juan del Regado?” They don’t know. “Who was Henry Kaplan?” Maybe one out of the whole group will have heard his name but will not know anything about him. So like those before me for whom I have great admiration that which I have done will disappear into the institution and hopefully become a part of its fabric, but it will not be identified with me.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What are some of those things that you are really glad you have accomplished?

James D. Cox, MD:

Well, I think I have spurred a lot of clinical research in the right direction through cooperative groups and also through the individual research approaches that we have taken. And there are those—my colleagues—we are involved in translational research, and I have not done any of the laboratory part of that, but I have been key to what has happened in the clinical part of it whether it’s with the RTOG, whether it’s with cancer of the lung or lymphomas or any of the disease-side areas in which I have been involved, but the main things I have accomplished in the research arena have been in clinical research, and the things in clinical research are what contributes to the care of patients. I mean—those are more immediate. They are perhaps not as revered scientifically as discrete pieces of research that will appear in the Journal of Science next month, but they have a beneficial effect on patients, and when you come right down to it that is where my heart is. And administratively I think I have—I think I have helped foster the collaboration with other divisions, other departments with very few exceptions so that I and my colleagues have a very comfortable working relationship in the multi-disciplinary realm. And going back historically, when Fletcher was the head of the division, through the force of his personality and what he accomplished clinically, he set a high standard for the role of and view of radiation oncology within MD Anderson. I believe I have contributed to maintaining that stature of radiation oncology within MD Anderson, and by and large I think that differs from any other cancer center in the world. So those are the things of which I am proud.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

James D. Cox, MD:

I think that is enough (laughter). That is probably a good place to stop.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

All right, Dr. Cox. Well, thank you very much for taking the time to do these sessions. I really do appreciate it.

James D. Cox, MD:

My pleasure.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I am turning off the recorder at 12:51.

James D. Cox, MD:

Oh my. (end of audio)

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Chapter 20:  Contributions to MD Anderson