About Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health

Our unique blend of cancer research and patient care is transforming cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Established in 1978, Moores Cancer Center is ranked among the top 50 oncology programs in the nation and is the San Diego region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. This designation is reserved for centers with the highest achievements in cancer research, clinical care, education and community contributions.

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A Team of Experts for Every Patient

Because every cancer — and every patient — is different, physicians at Moores Cancer Center customize treatment for each person. Our multidisciplinary team approach involves specialists in medical, surgical and radiation oncology, pathology, diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine, nursing, social work, and genetic counseling who meet regularly to discuss the best individualized treatment.

Moores Cancer  Center is at the forefront of precision-targeted and immune therapies. Patients with complex cases may undergo genomic sequencing or have their treatment decisions discussed with a specialized Molecular Tumor Board. Patients are then matched to the best individualized treatment, which may include novel therapies that are only available through clinical trials at an academic medical center like ours.

Our Facilities

Moores Cancer Center unites cancer-related research laboratories, clinical trials, prevention and outreach programs, and patient care under one roof. Our distinctive building on UC San Diego Health’s La Jolla campus opened in 2005 and comprises two structures that share a common base: a three-story facility for clinical services and administration, and a five-story research tower. This design encourages interaction and intellectual exchanges between our world-renowned clinicians and researchers.

This beautiful building was designed with you and your family in mind. In 2008, it was awarded an Orchid Award for excellence in architecture by the San Diego Architectural Society, as it brings nature into the building and surrounds a bamboo courtyard. All the services that you might need are located within the first two floors.

Moores Cancer Center provides outpatient treatment only; procedures that require an overnight stay are usually performed at Jacobs Medical Center. Opened in 2016, this world-class hospital includes three floors dedicated to advanced oncology care, including a specialized unit with a pressurized, aseptic air-filtration system for those receiving blood and marrow transplants.

Jacobs Medical Center is also home to an advanced surgery pavilion, with state-of-the-art equipment for minimally invasive and robotic surgery, 3D visualization techniques, and other approaches for the surgical treatment of brain tumors, prostate cancer, and other cancers. Learn more about Jacobs Medical Center.

UC San Diego Health also offers outpatient oncology clinic visits, radiation oncology treatment, and infusion and lab procedures at several locations throughout the county.

Accomplishments

Scientific findings and innovations made by Moores Cancer Center’s 400 scientific members are changing how cancer is treated today.

  • UC San Diego researcher Roger Tsien, PhD, co-winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the scientific and therapeutic development of green fluorescent protein, developed a molecular imaging agent that was tested and found promising in the clinic by Anne Wallace, MD, professor of surgery
  • Our faculty includes 16 members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences
  • Our research on cancer prevention and smoking cessation has led to public policy changes affecting tobacco advertising
  • We were instrumental in FDA approval of technetium Tc 99m tilmanocept (Lymphoseek), the first new imaging agent in more than three decades to detect and map sentinel nodes in breast cancer patients 
  • Thomas Kipps, MD, PhD, discovered and conducts early phase trials of cancer stem cell protein target ROR1. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine just announced an $18.2 million grant to launch trials using the ROR1-based drug cirmtuzumab in combination to treat refractory CLL and mantle cell lymphoma 
  • Michael Karin, PhD, researches the profound connection between inflammation and cancer
  • Discoveries by Judy Varner, PhD, of PI3Kγ and BTK effects on macrophage function, led to two novel immune trials
  • Our team developed the use of hedgehog inhibitors in leukemia and liver cancer
  • Jacqueline Kerr, PhD, leads cutting edge programs in spatial energetics, new obesity-related behaviors (sedentary behavior and overnight fasting); and new technologies to reach remote regions of the body
  • María Elena Martínez, PhD, is a member of the NCI’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative Blue Ribbon Panel

bamboo garden
The Bamboo Garden is a welcoming space at Moores Cancer Center, which houses clinical and research space for UC San Diego Health cancer services. 

UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center
Jacobs Medical Center has several floors specifically designed for inpatient cancer care and surgeries.