Where discoveries are delivered.℠

External Resources:

Dr. Ila M. Saunders

Hematology/Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant

Ila M. Saunders

Ila M. Saunders, Pharm.D., BCOP

Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


(858) 822-6839

Research Summary: Hematology/Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant

Dr. Saunders is a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist working in Thoracic/Head & Neck medical oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplant at Moores Cancer Center (MCC). Prior to joining the faculty at SSPPS in August 2014, Dr. Saunders was a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and practiced in the department of Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy (SCTCT) for 6 years. She also served as a preceptor for PGY2 Oncology Pharmacy Practice residents for the SCTCT rotations. 

Academic Achievements


B.S. in Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles (2001); Pharm.D., University of California, San Francisco (2006); PGY1 Pharmacy Practice Residency, University of California, San Francisco (2006-2007); PGY2 Oncology Pharmacy Practice Residency, MD Anderson Cancer Center (2007- 2008); Board Certified in Oncology Pharmacy (2009). 

Awards and Honors:

Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Society, Beta Beta chapter. 

Leadership Experience:

Dr. Saunders is an active member of the Hematology Oncology Pharmacists Association (HOPA) and has served as a member of the Session Proposal Task Force (2011-2014), Research Abstract Review Work Group (2014-2015), and currently serves on the BCOP Conference Program Planning Committee. Dr. Saunders is also a member of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) Pharmacy Special Interest Group and serves on the Advocacy & Policy Working Committee as the current Chair-Elect (2013-present). She also recently joined the SWOG (Southwestern Oncology Group) Pharmaceutical Sciences Committee in 2015 and was recently invited to join the committee's Drug Information Subcommittee.

At SSPPS, Dr. Saunders serves on several committees, including the Pfizer/UCSD Pharmacology/Oncology Fellowship committee. She is also the first oncology clinical pharmacist in the outpatient clinics at MCC and also the only oncology clinical pharmacist at UC San Diego Health System with a collaborative practice agreement. She also serves as a non-voting guest member of the Oncology Pharmacy & Therapeutics subcommittee at MCC.

Key Contributions to Clinical Pharmacy

  • Collaborated with MCC nursing colleagues to develop and implement a chemotherapy class for cancer patients at MCC.
  • Collaborated with anoncology pharmacy colleague, to develop a succinct toxicity checklist that utilizes the EPIC EMR to help providers effectively and efficiently assess a patient receiving immunotherapy for immune-mediated toxicities over the course of treatment.
  • Working closely with cancer center and pharmacy leadership to expand oncology clinical pharmacy services at MCC.

Selected Recent Publications (view more)

  • Wilhelm K et al. (2013) The impact of pre-transplant valganciclovir on early cytomegalovirus reactivation after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. J Oncol Pharm Pract 0:1-6.
  • Saunders IM, et al. (2014) Topical Cidofovir–Induced Acute Kidney Injury in Two Severely Immunocompromised Patients with Refractory Multidrug-Resistant Herpes Simplex Virus Infections. J Oncol Pharm Pract, 0:1-7.
  • Saliba RM et al (2015) General and Virus-Specific Immune Cell Reconstitution Following Double Cord Blood Transplantation. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 21:1284-90.

Potential Collaborative Programs with the Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Developing service interventions that will improve clinical outcomes for patients with cancer.
  • Developing clinical practices that will improve appropriate medication prescribing and medication adherence for patients with cancer.