Innovator and Educator
Dr. Claire Verschraegen is a professor of medicine and director of the Division of Medical Oncology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She also holds the Diane Nye and Michael Rayden Chair in Innovative Cancer Research at Ohio State and serves as associate director for translational research at The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
Previously, she was the director of the Hematology/Oncology Division of the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. There she was heavily involved in clinical trials with rare cancers like mesothelioma, which requires a strong commitment to recruiting eligible patients. She often attributes the success of those trials to the volunteers who have been part of them, lauding them for their participation.
When she worked at the University of New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance, Verschraegen was a big part of the HERO Program (Helping to Enhance Research Oncology), which honored those who volunteered for the experimental treatments in the name of research.
Mesothelioma and Hematology
Verschraegen is a board-certified oncologist who has worked with mesothelioma, metastatic melanomas, sarcomas, gynecologic malignancies and other uncommon cancers. She also has worked with new anti-cancer drugs and treatments of solid tumors, always stressing the importance of clinical trials to help improve therapies.
Before coming to Ohio State, she was a tenured professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at UNM, serving as director of the Translational Therapeutics and Clinical Research Program. She oversaw the Clinical Protocol and Data Management Core at the UNM Cancer Center.
She was the principal investigator for the minority-based Community Clinical Oncology Program, which opened NCI-sponsored clinical trials to anyone in the state who wished to participate.
Dr. Verschraegen’s Education
She earned her Medical Degree at the University Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium and trained at the Institute Bordet. She went to Texas for her Medical Oncology fellowship at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where she eventually joined the faculty.
It was in New Mexico when she did one often-cited study that evaluated the anti-mesothelin immunotoxin SS1 (dsFv) PE38 in fresh tumor cells of peritoneal mesothelioma patients. She also conducted several trials involving a variety of drug combinations that were successful for specific cancers.
Her work with rare cancers has been well respected and well received nationally. Her academic writing includes 10 book chapters, 80 peer-reviewed medical papers and 20 invited papers. She is a former member of the Scientific Board for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
Dr. Verschraegen’s Publications
As an expert in rare cancers, Verschraegen has contributed to a number of articles on mesothelioma. In 2008 she helped assemble a final report for a phase II peritoneal mesothelioma clinical trial for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and her other works discussing mesothelioma treatment have appeared in journals such as Clinical Cancer Research.