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VA Loma Linda Cancer Research Program

The Cancer Center at VA Loma Linda Healthcare System (VALLHCS) was established in 2004 and has been accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer from 2007 to present. Research is an essential part of the high standards placed on VALLHCS as a COC accredited institution.


  • Provide Veterans with greater and easier access to innovative cancer clinical trials. 
  • Promote development of therapeutic cancer agents.
  • Decrease the economic burden of high-cost chemotherapy drugs
  • Promote the highest possible quality of patient cancer care


Three types of cancer clinical research are done at VA Loma Linda Healthcare System (VALLHCS). Investigator initiated studies, industry sponsored studies, and National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored studies. To conduct NCI clinical trials, sites must be a member of an NCI supported Oncology group. VA LLHCS is a member of SWOG (Southwest Oncology Group) VA consortium. This membership was obtained in October of 2017 to strengthen our research program through networking, collaboration, and support with other VA facilities to conduct clinical trials.   

Other collaborative organizations are the American Cancer Society and Loma Linda University.

Clinical research may include: 

  • Cancer-specific biorepositories or tissue banks
  • Prevention trials (testing new approaches that are aimed to lower the risk of developing a certain type of cancer)
  • Screening trials (examining new approaches to detect cancer)
  • Diagnostic trials (examining tests or procedures used to identify or diagnose cancer)
  • Treatment trials to determine if new medications or regimens are effective against cancer.  These interventions may be medical products, such as drugs or devices; procedures; or changes to participants’ behavior, such as diet. 
  • Economics of care related to cancer care
  • Quality-of-life or supportive care trials
  • Genetic studies
  • Patient registries with an underlying cancer research focus (such as the National Oncologic PET Registry)


Current VALLHCS Cancer Research Investigators:

Jeena Chorath MD, Oncology-Hematology

Jedediah Dixon, MD – Interventional Radiologist

Apoorva Jayarangaiah MD  Oncology-Hematology

Simmerdeep Kaur MD - Oncology-Hematology

Yuankai Lin MD, PhD, FAHIM

Takisha Lindler, MD – Urology Chief

Zarah Dulce F.  Lucas

Mark Reeves MD, PhD – Surgical Oncology Chief

Heather Rojas, MD – Clinical Laboratory & Pathology Chief

Thu Tang MD – Interventional Radiology

Renee Wilterding, PA , Oncology

Salman Zaheer MD – Thoracic Surgery


Oncology Study Coordinator:

Sheba Malik MBBS, CCRC (Certified Clinical Research Coordinator) contact  ext.1535

Biospecimen Collection: Mark Reeves Cancer-specific biorepository collection of tumor/bone marrow specimens from all patients undergoing cancer surgery. Specimens are snap frozen in real time for subsequent cancer translational research projects. Performed in collaboration with Loma Linda University Cancer Center Biospecimen Laboratory. Precision Oncology Program A clinical program that incorporates genomic tumor tissue and blood analysis into regular, standard-of-care laboratory testing for VHA patients diagnosed with cancer. The Precision Oncology Program identifies mutations in patient’s cancer tissue and/or blood through these genomic analyses. This is incorporated into a clinical program for precision oncology, with VALLHCS oncologists, pathologists, and laboratory personnel vetting the logistics of including genomic testing in routine care for all VHA patients with cancer. Lung Precision Oncology Program: Yuanki Lin Mission of improving care for all of our nation's Veterans who have been diagnosed with lung cancer. This new program is a component of the VHA’s Precision Oncology Initiative, which aims to continue to create a system of excellence in oncology care within the VHA. A151804: Mark Reeves National Biorepository to Advance Studies of Immune-Related Adverse Events S1914: Mark Reeves Randomized Ph III Trial of Induction/Consolidation Atezolizumab + SBRT Vs SBRT Alone in High Risk Early Stage NSCLC. NIGHTINGALE: Jedediah Dixon Clinical utility of management of patients with CT and LDCT identified pulmonary nodules using the percepta nasal swab classifier – with familiarization . S1827: Zarah Lucas MRI Brain Surveillance Alone Versus MRI Surveillance and Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation (PCI): A Randomized Phase III Trial in Small Cell Lung Cancer (MAVERICK ) EA 2185 (pending) Comparing the Clinical Impact of Pancreatic Cyst Surveillance Programs A212102 Blinded Reference Set for Multicancer Early Detection Blood Tests


The VALLHCS Cancer Center maintains a cancer translational research laboratory. Its purposes include the study of fundamental cancer mechanisms, and the evaluation of novel cancer therapies for in-vitro and in-vivo laboratory models.