August 7, 2023

Boris Pasche, M.D., Ph.D., to lead Karmanos and Department of Oncology

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, part of Grand Blanc-based McLaren Health Care and a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, in conjunction with Wayne State University, has named Boris C. Pasche, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, president and chief executive officer and, pending formal NCI approval, principal investigator of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Core Grant, effective Aug 28. He also will serve as chair of the Department of Oncology at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Boris Pasche, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Pasche assumes the role Joseph Uberti, M.D., Ph.D., served in an interim basis following the retirement of Gerold Bepler, M.D.

Dr. Pasche will set the strategic vision for the future growth and development of the Karmanos Cancer Institute, the largest cancer provider and researcher in Michigan and northern Ohio, and implement that vision, which includes planning and evaluation, scientific direction, community outreach and engagement, coordinated delivery of multidisciplinary clinical cancer care, advancement and development activities through the Karmanos Cancer Foundation, and organizational administration.

“To lead an organization recognized throughout the health care industry for its exceptional clinical care and significant contributions to advancing cancer research and treatment is an amazing opportunity and a tremendous responsibility,” Dr. Pasche said. “I thank the leadership of Karmanos, McLaren, and Wayne State for their confidence that together we can continue to provide an exceptional level of clinical care to our patients and support the level of research necessary to bring novel therapies from our laboratories to the patient’s bedside in the fight against this terrible disease.”

Dr. Pasche arrives at Karmanos from Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salen, N.C., where, in addition to his duties as an attending physician specializing in gastrointestinal malignancies he held additional leadership and academic positions, including the Charles L. Spurr Endowed Chair of Cancer Research, chair of the Department of Cancer Biology, and director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, during which he oversaw an expansion that resulted in a doubling of the program’s NCI funding, a hallmark of the strength of an organization’s research programs. Additionally, he directed the reorganization of its scientific programs and recruited 72 new faculty members. These efforts led to the successful renewal of the NCI core grant in 2016 and again in 2021.

During a career that stretches more than 30 years, Dr. Pasche has served in various and esteemed clinical and academic positions. He was chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he expanded the clinical and research programs, recruited 19 new faculty members, and tripled its funding. He also served as deputy director of the University of Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Center. Before that, he was the founder of the Cancer Genetics Program at Northwestern University in Chicago.

“Dr. Pasche has demonstrated his proficiency to deliver and advance cancer care on a level that the physicians, researchers, and most importantly, patients of Karmanos deserve,” said Philip A. Incarnati, McLaren Health Care president and CEO. “We trust that his leadership will continue to progress the Karmanos mission and serve the needs of those who depend on it.”

The Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of only 72 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, a recognition it originally earned in 1978 and has since maintained. With 16 treatment centers, Karmanos cares for approximately 12,000 new patients every year thought its statewide network, ensuring all patients receive the same level of high-quality, evidence-based care, and access to the latest screenings, prevention and treatments.

Through its partnership with Wayne State University, Karmanos also manages one of the most advanced research and clinical trial programs, with more than 800 cancer-specific scientific investigations and 300 clinical trials that include the nation’s most diverse patient population. In his capacity as president and CEO of Karmanos, Dr. Pasche will also chair the Wayne State Univeresity School of Medicine's Department of Oncology, where he will report to the dean of the medical school and work in collaboration with Wayne State’s Office of Research.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Pasche will be joining us in this critical leadership position,” Wayne State University President Kimberly Andrews Espy said. “With his background as a cancer physician, scientist and researcher, as well as his progressive success as a leader in the field, we are confident he is well positioned to drive KCI to the next level of performance.”

“Dr. Pasche is uniquely qualified to become the next leader of our Department of Oncology and the necessary visionary to take the Karmanos Cancer Institute into the future of cancer medicine and research in Michigan,” said Wael Sakr, M.D., dean of the Wayne State University School of Medicine. “We look forward to his transformational leadership.”

A native of Switzerland, Dr. Pasche earned his medical and doctoral degrees from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and another medical degree from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Dr. Pasche completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the New York Hospital at Cornell University Medical Center, and continued his clinical training with a Hematology/Oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with a second postdoctoral fellowship at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research.

“Securing a leader like Dr. Pasche is a huge win for our medical, clinical, research and patient communities,” said Tim Monahan, chairman of the Board of Karmanos Cancer Institute. “I would like to acknowledge and thank all those who were actively involved and contributed to this process at Karmanos, McLaren and Wayne State. Specifically, I want to thank Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson and McLaren CEO Phil Incarnati for their vision and leadership in bringing Dr. Pasche to KCI. Lastly, I want to personally thank Dr. Joseph Uberti for his selfless service and leadership during this interim period while we conducted this search.”

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