NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NCI’s Frederick Campus Hosts HHS Secretary, Members of Congress

Woman in mask holds up glass flasks in gloved hands as masked people look on
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra (2nd from l) and a congressional delegation representing Maryland visit a lab on NCI’s Frederick campus.

Photo:  Credit Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

A congressional delegation representing Maryland joined HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and other department officials on July 22 for a visit to NCI’s campus in Frederick, Md. 

Dr. Lawrence Tabak, performing the duties of NIH director, and NCI acting director Dr. Doug Lowy greeted U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, U.S. Rep. David Trone, Becerra and HHS Region 3 director Dr. Ala Stanford.  

The group took part in a roundtable discussion about research at NCI Frederick, along with its support of the Cancer Moonshot initiative. Lowy gave an overview of science underway, highlighting patient-derived xenograft models for rare adult and pediatric cancer types and the Biopharmaceutical Development Program (BDP) for developing therapeutics.

Van Hollen shakes hands with Tabak, as Trone and Cardin look on. All are wearing masks.
Legislators (from l) representing Maryland David Trone, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin are greeted on arrival at NCI-Frederick by Dr. Lawrence Tabak, performing the duties of NIH director.

Photo:  Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

BDP, Lowy noted, includes NCI’s CAR T-cell Manufacturing Program, which supports multi-center clinical trials to advance this approach for difficult-to-treat cancers, including pediatric acute myeloid leukemia and several pediatric and adult solid tumors.

Trone took to Twitter to express his gratitude for the tour. “As a cancer survivor, my visit to @theNCI was personal. The Cancer Moonshot Initiative is a call to America’s best and brightest to pool resources and develop a cure. Thank you to @SecBecerra, @SenatorCardin and @ChrisVanHollen for joining me. Together, we can beat this thing!”

Conference room with people in masks seated around table and in chairs along the perimeter
During a roundtable discussion about research at NCI Frederick, NCI acting director Dr. Doug Lowy gave an overview of science underway. (Frederick County community level for Covid-19 was at low at the time of the meeting.)

Photo:  Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Also participating in the briefing, Dr. Melinda Hollingshead, chief of the Biological Testing Branch in NCI’s Developmental Therapeutics Program, who oversees NCI’s Patient-Derived Models Repository, described the repository program and showed samples.

Hollingshead chats with Becerra.
Dr. Melinda Hollingshead chats with Becerra.

Photo:  Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Afterwards, the group visited Hollingshead’s lab to see a demonstration of the work and to get a look at patient-derived models of cancer under a microscope.

“I applaud @POTUS for reigniting the Cancer Moonshot to defeat cancer,” tweeted Van Hollen. “It was great to join leaders of @NIH & @theNCI to tour labs at @NCIFredOutreach w/@SecBecerra @senatorcardin @repdavidtrone. We made it to the moon &—w/ingenuity & resources—we will end cancer as we know it.”

Stanford, a board certified pediatric and adult general surgeon, also posted about the visit on Twitter: “Full circle moment. I spent yrs in a basic science lab during my surgical training. Now @theNCI understanding how they work towards health cures & equality w/#CancerMoonShot support. Excited to work together for best health outcomes.”  

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