University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center leader Wells Messersmith, MD, has been named chief medical officer of oncology services at UCHealth. In this new role, Messersmith will oversee cancer care at all UCHealth locations with a focus on expanding advanced treatments and the clinical trials UCHealth offers in partnership with the CU Cancer Center.
Messersmith also was recently named associate director for clinical services at the CU Cancer Center; he previously served as associate director of translational research. He will continue to hold his position as the division head for medical oncology.
A graduate of Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins oncology fellowship, Messersmith joined CU School of Medicine and UCHealth in 2007. Since then, he and the team have developed multi-disciplinary clinics, systemwide retreats, and specialty satellite clinics, helping the GI cancer program grow 15-fold.
His research group is focused on using a personalized approach in developing new anticancer drugs for GI cancers. In particular, the lab uses a novel colorectal and pancreatic laboratory models whereby tumor tissue is obtained from the operating room and then tested with novel anti-cancer agents. Messersmith has served as principle investigator of more than 80 clinical trials, including more than 20 first-in-human agents with an emphasis on cancer cell signaling and immunotherapy.
We spoke with Messersmith about his journey into medicine and his new role.