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Dr. Radford wins Longleaf Pine honor for his cancer research

Dr. James Radford, an oncologist and cancer research pioneer who retired in 2021 from Pardee UNC Health Care after more than 20 years, was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Monday at a private ceremony at the Pardee Cancer Center surrounded by family, close friends and Cancer Center colleagues.

The highest award for state service granted by the Office of the Governor, the Longleaf Pine honors those with more than 30 years of service to North Carolina and who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.
Radford began his medical career in academic medicine, serving on the faculty at Wake Forest University and the University of Minnesota. When he decided to pursue another field of medicine, he chose to be closer to family in western North Carolina and moved to Hendersonville. Once in Hendersonville and practicing with Pardee, he developed the Pardee Cancer Research Program and remained the principal investigator for more than 22 years.
The clinical trials program at Pardee, through which patients can access a large number of national and international clinical trials of new cancer therapies, began in 1999 with only Radford and one research nurse. The program has since grown to four researchers while maintaining 50 to 55 open studies continuously since the program’s inception. Under Radford’s leadership, Pardee Cancer Research Program has allowed people in Henderson County and the surrounding areas to be enrolled in clinical studies among more than 20 community cancer centers all over the country. Through his work for more than two decades, thousands of patients have recovered from cancer and lives have been saved.
“I am grateful to Dr. Radford for his innovation and leadership over the years,” said Jay Kirby, president and CEO of Pardee UNC Health Care. “His work has truly transformed cancer care for the community and I can think of no other recognition more appropriate for Dr. Radford than The Order of the Longleaf Pine. We are delighted for him and congratulate him on this outstanding honor.”