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Von Eschenbach Named NCI Director

Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach was named 12th director of the National Cancer Institute by President Bush on Dec. 6. In an 11-minute ceremony at the White House attended by top NIH officials, HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and the new director's family, Bush said, "Andy understands personally the importance of our war on cancer. He is a two-time cancer survivor, all too familiar with cancer's frightening effects. He will bring to his new position not only expertise and talent and dedication, but also compassion for the millions of cancer patients and their families who are struggling with this disease."

Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach

Von Eschenbach comes to NCI from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he was director of the Genitourinary Cancer Center and director of the Prostate Cancer Research Program. He has also served as vice president for academic affairs at M.D. Anderson and as executive vice president and chief academic officer, leading a faculty of almost 1,000 cancer researchers and clinicians.

He thanked Bush for "bestowing on me the greatest honor and responsibility of my life...I will be devoted to nurturing and promoting the paradigm of discovery through basic research." He said that "scientific discovery, although essential, is not sufficient. We cannot rest until we translate our new understanding of cancer into interventions that will detect cancer, new drugs that will treat and even prevent cancer. Only then can scientific discovery result in saved lives and reduced suffering."

A native of Philadelphia, von Eschenbach earned his M.D. from Georgetown University in 1967. He completed residencies in general surgery and urology at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, then was an instructor in urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. He went to M.D. Anderson for a fellowship in urologic oncology in 1976 and was invited to join the faculty the following year.

Von Eschenbach has contributed more than 200 articles, books and chapters to the scientific literature. He is an editorial board member of four leading journals and serves on the board of the National Coalition for Cancer Research. He was a founding member and leader of the National Dialogue on Cancer and, prior to his appointment as NCI director, was president-elect of the American Cancer Society.

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