A Letter from the Director
There’s never been a more exciting time of growth for our research and clinical programs. Thanks to overwhelming support from Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Legislature, UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson and our many friends across the state, we are well on the way to becoming Arkansas’ first and only cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute.
This important and prestigious designation will place the Cancer Institute among the top 2% of cancer centers in the country, as well as give our patients access to the latest clinical trials and our scientists the ability to receive significant grant funding.
Our research programs are growing rapidly. Our dedicated scientists are committed to expanding our already successful lab- and community-based programs and adding new, innovative initiatives.
Our clinical expertise also continues to expand, as we recently became the only facility in Arkansas approved to provide breakthrough CAR T-cell therapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Advances such as this are vital to the future of cancer care, and we vow to remain on the forefront of innovative cancer care for all Arkansans.
Our clinical programs are also expanding with the upcoming opening of a greatly expanded Breast Center, new infusion clinic and Phase 1 Unit. This evolving unit will offer state-of-the-art new drugs unavailable at many other cancer centers and will serve as a national resource for patients.
We look forward to sharing these beautiful new areas with everyone who comes to us for compassionate cancer care and preventative screenings.
The future is exciting for the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. More importantly, the future is bright for the entire cancer community in Arkansas as new therapies are developed and lives are saved. I invite you to join with us in this journey.
Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor, UAMS
Director, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
About Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D.
Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in gynecologic oncology. He has published over 270 peer-reviewed manuscripts and another 27 book chapters and review articles. He has served in numerous leadership positions within the greater gynecologic oncology community, including as chair and chair emeritus of the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program, chair of the Committee for Experimental Medicine of the Gynecologic Oncology Group, a member of the Gynecologic Cancer Steering Committee, and chair of the Translational Science Working Group of the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup.
Birrer has been a member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO), American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO), American Association of Cancer Research and the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS). He served on the program committees of ASCO, SGO and IGCS.
Birrer completed a medical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of John Minna, M.D., on the molecular genetics of lung cancer. He joined the NCI Division of Cancer Treatment as an investigator in 1988.
Three years later, Birrer was appointed as a senior investigator (with tenure) and established the molecular mechanism section in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. Over the next 17 years, he held a number of positions at the NCI.
In November 2008, Birrer was appointed professor of medicine at the Harvard School of Medicine. He assumed the position of director of gynecologic medical oncology at Mass General Hospital and the Gynecologic Oncology Research Program. This program integrated important new discoveries in translational research into clinical trials.
In August 2017, Birrer became director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While there, he was a professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and the recipient of the Evalina B. Spencer Chair in Oncology.
In December 2019, Birrer accepted the position of vice chancellor and director of the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He also serves as director of the Cancer Service Line.