William H. West, M.D.
The West Clinic
In 1979, Dr. William West opened a small two-room, three physician cancer clinic in downtown Memphis that forever changed the face of cancer care for thousands of patients in the Mid-South and beyond. A native Memphian, Dr. West was among several physicians in his family; his father and two brothers were also doctors. His decision to enter the medical field was predicated on his interest in cancer and his hope of finding a cure. After completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard University, Dr. West attended Johns Hopkins Medical School and then continued his studies at the National Cancer Institute. He quickly became a nationally-respected oncologist and a lead investigator for the prestigious National Institutes of Health in Washington.
Dr. West left his appointment at the NIH and returned home in early 1979 determined to provide cancer patients in Memphis with the same level of care then found only in large academic medical centers in major cities. On September 1, 1979 the doors of the “Hematology and Oncology Clinic” opened in the 910 Madison Professional Building. Dr. West’s wife, Carole, was at his side, serving as the clinic’s receptionist.
At the time, chemotherapy was a new cancer treatment and administered only in the hospital setting. Dr. West believed that cancer care belonged in the community oncology clinics. His vision helped to set in motion a new trend that would eventually became a nationwide standard of care in cancer treatment.
In the late 1980’s, Dr. West founded Response Oncology, Inc., a public company that developed unique cancer treatment protocols widely used by a network of cancer specialists throughout the country. His passion for cancer research became central to The West Clinic’s mission, and as early as 1987, the New England Journal of Medicine published his findings on the clinic’s first research breakthrough for a drug to treat cancer of the kidneys.
On November 1, 1988, Dr. West and his staff moved the clinic to a new location on Mt. Moriah Boulevard, and the name was changed at that time to The West Clinic. Since that time, The West Clinic has been involved in cutting-edge cancer research, and our patients have had access to new innovative therapies developed over the past 25 years. At any time, The West Clinic is participating in more than 40 clinical trials for new drugs and drug treatments. Together with the Accelerated Community Oncology Research Network and leading pharmaceutical companies, The West Clinic has played a major role in bringing 12 new cancer therapies through clinical research into standards of care.
Shortly thereafter, Dr. West retired from everyday clinical practice. Never departing far from his vision, he continued to work closely with the clinic and continued to devote himself to clinical research.
Today, Dr. West is actively involved in community service such as the American Cancer Society, Christ United Methodist Church, and several other charitable organizations. In 2005 he was inducted by the Society for Entrepreneurs as an outstanding industry leader in Memphis, Tennessee.