Sarah Cannon
September 27, 2021

Nashville, Tenn. September 27, 2021 — Sarah Cannon recently opened its newest drug development unit (DDU) in collaboration with Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) and The University of Central Florida College of Medicine (UCF) in Lake Nona, Fla. The unit, located in the Sarah Cannon | UCF Lake Nona Cancer Center, is led by Cesar Augusto Perez, MD, a recognized expert in Phase 1 oncology research. The first of its kind in Lake Nona, the DDU focuses exclusively on oncology clinical trials at the earliest phases of research and was designed to meet the specialized needs of patients seeking advanced cancer treatment options. The first patient was treated on a clinical trial at the new unit earlier this month.

“Lake Nona is known for building a community of collaborators, and by working together with our colleagues at FCS and UCF – we are proud to open a drug development program that is offering greater access to novel therapies that are essential to advancing science and transforming cancer care for patients,said Howard A. “Skip” Burris, III, MD, President of Clinical Operations and Chief Medical Officer, Sarah Cannon. “Dr. Perez has dedicated his career to translational oncology research and we are looking forward to his leadership over this new program.”

Cesar Perez, MD most recently served as an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami where he also was one of the leaders for Phase 1 oncology clinical research. He was previously an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville, where he received the Best Faculty Teacher Award in 2015 and 2017. After completing a hematology and oncology fellowship at the University of Miami, Dr. Perez received the Peter A. Cassileth, MD Award as an outstanding fellow, and served as Chief Fellow.   

“It is an honor to join Florida Cancer Specialists and lead Sarah Cannon’s newest drug development program in Lake Nona so that we can advance therapies for patients who vitally need them,” said Dr. Perez. “By having our unit aligned to FCS’s medical oncology practice and located in UCF’s center focused on delivering cutting-edge offerings, we are offering a more comprehensive care experience.”

As Director of Drug Development for Sarah Cannon Research Institute at FCS – Lake Nona, Dr. Perez works with a team that includes Sarah Canon and FCS research nurses, pharmacists, and patient support members that provide patients with access to the latest research and compassionate care without needing to travel far from home.

“Over the last two decades, FCS has partnered with Sarah Cannon to bring new treatment options to patients facing cancer throughout the state,” said Lucio Gordan, MD, President & 

Managing Physician, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute. “The DDU, which is co-located with one of our newest medical oncology practices, ensures patients can access specialized oncology care in a purposefully-designed space that brings together essential oncology services under one roof.”

Located on the Sarah Cannon | UCF Lake Nona Cancer Center campus, the new 10,000 square-foot  Sarah Cannon Research Institute at FCS drug development unit is a part of a new treatment facility, which combines medical oncology services and Phase 1 clinical trial options for cancer patients in one convenient location, 6400 Sanger Road, Suite A-2400, Orlando, Florida 32827. Radiation oncology will also be offered at this location later this year in collaboration with Sarah Cannon and HCA Healthcare’s UCF Lake Nona Medical Center. Additionally, departments for the UCF College of Medicine and HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement are located within the center.

“The UCF College of Medicine welcomes partnership with Sarah Cannon and FCS as new members of Lake Nona’s growing health and life sciences cluster,” said Deborah German, MD, Founding Dean and VP for Health Affairs at the UCF College of Medicine. “By partnering with Sarah Cannon and FCS, we are able to make greater strides for people facing cancer from the bench to the bedside.”

Currently, Sarah Cannon and FCS offer clinical trials through more than 36 locations in the state, including existing drug development programs in Sarasota and Lake Mary. All three units will work closely to increase early phase trial options for patients.

About Sarah Cannon Research Institute

Sarah Cannon Research Institute (SCRI) is one of the world’s leading oncology research organizations conducting community-based clinical trials. In 2022, SCRI formed a joint venture with former US Oncology Research to enhance clinical trial access and availability across the country. Focused on advancing therapies for patients over the last three decades, SCRI is a leader in drug development. It has conducted more than 600 first-in-human clinical trials since its inception and contributed to pivotal research that has led to the majority of new cancer therapies approved by the FDA today. The combined research network brings together physicians who are actively accruing patients to clinical trials at more than 250 locations in 26 states across the US. Please click here to earn more about our research offerings.

About Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, LLC: (

Recognized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) with a national Clinical Trials Participation Award, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) offers patients access to more clinical trials than any private oncology practice in Florida. In the past four years, the majority of new cancer drugs approved for use in the U.S. were studied in clinical trials with Florida Cancer Specialists participation. * Trained in prestigious medical schools and research institutes, our physicians are consistently ranked nationally as Top Doctors by U.S. News & World Report.

Founded in 1984, Florida Cancer Specialists has built a national reputation for excellence that is reflected in exceptional and compassionate patient care, driven by innovative clinical research, cutting-edge technologies and advanced treatments, including targeted therapies, genomic-based treatment, and immunotherapy.  Our highest values are embodied by our outstanding team of highly trained and dedicated physicians, clinicians and staff.