"Dr. von Eschenbach brings enormous medical and administrative expertise and experience to this post," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. "This background will be vitally important in his new challenging role of FDA commissioner."
In the cancer community, Dr. von Eschenbach, 64, is a well-recognized urologic surgeon who formerly directed the Genitourinary Cancer Center and the Prostate Cancer Research Program at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. von Eschenbach spent a quarter of a century there, moving from faculty member to department chair to executive vice president and chief academic officer.
Subsequently, Dr. von Eschenbach was named Director of the National Cancer Institute, the 12th person to assume this responsibility in the NCI's 67-year old history. During his tenure, he worked to strengthen collaborations between the NCI and the FDA, and to bring laboratory breakthroughs to the clinic as quickly as possible, maximizing patient benefits and minimizing risks. As part of this collaboration, the NCI and FDA through a joint agency task force agreed to share knowledge and resources to facilitate the development of new cancer drugs and speed their delivery to patients.
"Dr. von Eschenbach also has a special appreciation for translational cancer research, the process that bridges basic research with clinical research, with the goal of bringing new discoveries to the cancer patient," said Peter Jones, Ph.D., D.Sc., AACR president and director of the University of Southern California/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Distinguished Professor of Urology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the Keck School of Medicine at USC.
"His knowledge of the health delivery system at all levels -- as a medical researcher, cancer physician and as a leader of a major government health agency lend support to his qualifications as FDA commissioner," Jones added.
Among his other professional activities, Dr. von Eschenbach was president-elect of the American Cancer Society, and also served as a speaker in public outreach programs organized by the AACR. He is a three-time survivor of cancer, giving him an added perspective of a patient who faced a life-threatening disease.
"Dr. von Eschenbach not only brings a wealth of scientific knowledge to the FDA post, he also brings the personal experiences of a cancer patient and survivor," said Foti.
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 24,000 basic,translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 60 other countries. AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts over 16,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special Conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment, and patient care. AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. It's most recent publication, CR, is a magazine for cancer survivors, patient advocates, their families, physicians, and scientists. It provides a forum for sharing essential,evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship, and advocacy.
Warren R. Froelich
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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