Dr. Ruben Mesa is the executive director of the Mays Cancer Center, at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Mays Cancer Center is one of only four National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in Texas. For almost 30 years the cancer center has had a deep focus on providing world class cancer care, advancing cancer research and educating the next generation of cancer care scientists and care providers. The Mays Cancer Center is a leader in advancing the science of cancer in Latinx patients, training the diverse cancer investigators of the future, and enrolling a majority of Latinx cancer patients onto cancer clinical trials. Having joined UT Health in 2017 Dr. Mesa began as director of the cancer center and helped lead the naming endowment of the center, the establishment of the center as a partner site of the MD Anderson Partner Cancer Network. Now the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson the center has undergone a period of great progress with development of a comprehensive patient centered cancer service line, renewal of the NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (P30) and Designation, actively developing a cancer focused hospital to open in 2024, and seen significant growth in faculty, extramural peer reviewed funding, and robust community engagement and cancer research career enhancement programs.
After earning degrees in nuclear engineering and physiology, with minors in radiation biophysics and bioengineering, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Mesa received his medical degree from the Mayo Graduate School at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. He completed his residency in internal medicine and his fellowship in hematology/medical oncology at Mayo. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and medical oncology. Dr. Mesa was the chair of hematology and medical oncology for the Mayo Clinic in Arizona from 2009-2017 where he oversaw hematology, medical oncology, stem cell transplant and palliative medicine. Additionally, Dr Mesa was deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center and helped oversee all efforts related to cancer practice, education and research in Arizona and development of the cancer service line across Mayo Clinic. During Dr. Mesa’s tenure Mayo Clinic Arizona progressed from unranked to be one of the top 20 US News and World Report rated cancer hospitals in the USA.
Dr. Mesa’s own practice builds on his role as an international expert on myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), a group of bone marrow disorders that often lead to leukemia. He has been involved in MPN research for more than 20 years. He led the development of National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s panel guidelines, the first U.S. guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of myelofibrosis, polycythemia vera and essential thrombocythemia. Dr. Mesa has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of more than 100 clinical trials including numerous global phase 3 trials. He was a co-leader contributing to the FDA’s approval of ruxolitinib for polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis, and fedratinib for myelofibrosis. He currently co-leads the NCI P01 funded MPN Research Consortium. Dr. Mesa was elected to the Board of Directors of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2018 and subsequently an officer of the board in 2020, and sits on the board of the MPN Education Foundation.
Dr. Mesa has been an active member with AACI, AACR, ASH and ASCO with a variety of leadership roles and is currently an elected Board member for the American Association of Cancer Institute. Dr. Mesa is deeply committed to advancing cancer health equity both personally as a Latino Cancer Center Director and Professionally as this is central to the mission of the Mays Cancer Center. Dr. Mesa is involved with numerous national initiatives regarding expanding diversity inn both cancer training and clinical trial participation with AACR, with Genentech, with BMS, and with Jansen.