CTCA’s new CEO says research will reduce fear for cancer patients

Personal experience led Matt McGuire to begin a career at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.“I’ve lost three of my four grandparents to cancer,” said McGuire, who was named CEO of CTCA at at Western Regional Medical Center in January. “I remember when I was 13 years old and my mom telling my brother and I that Grandma had cancer and I could just see the fear in my mother’s eyes. I just hope and expect that 10 years from now, because of all the innovations that are going to come by the bedside that the cancer diagnosis won’t be nearly as fearful as it is today.”

To help his hope become a realization, McGuire is leading CTCA at a time when the hospital is taking an aggressive role in cancer research.

What have been the biggest challenge of CTCA’s increased focus on research?
We had to essentially build the program from the ground up. The hiring of (Director of Clinical Research) Dr. Glen Weiss and the progress he has led has been extraordinary. We have to be more responsive to new ideas. We have 14 people now on the research team and it’s been a challenge to find those people and to leard the complexities and regularities of the pharmacy industry.

Why did you decide to add research?
The primary driver is that it brings additional hopeful options to patients. As personalized and genomic medicine takes hold as we look into the future, having the ability to have the most recent targeted therapies available for our patients is so in line with our mission that we knew it was time.

What qualities does and effective CEO need to possess?
Good communication skills. A clear vision and an ability to rally people around that vision. Energy and passion. The last thing is they need to be resilient. The perseverance that is needed to adapt in this ever-changing world is absolutely fundamental. I try to put relationships front and center. I want our stakeholders to know that their voice and concerns will always be heard.

What are your goals as CEO of CTCA?
We have to be the leader in the delivery of personalized cancer care. We are going to be the leader in how genomics medicine will change the way we administer cancer care. With what we are starting in our research program, it’s going to be an amazing evolution about how cancer care is delivered. We have to lead in that space. I hope and expect that 10 years from now, because of all the innovations that are going to come, the cancer diagnosis won’t be nearly as fearful as it is today. It will be hopeful because people will know there are places like CTCA and other cancer care providers who can help. I liken it to how the ACL injury was a career-ending injury in sports 10 or 15 years ago. Now, you have Adrian Peterson leading the NFL in rushing after an injury that would have ended his career 10 years ago. I think we’re going to look back 10 or 15 years ago and say, “Back then, cancer used to scare people.”