Trump appoints new Director of the National Cancer Institute

pharmafile | June 14, 2017 | Appointment | Business Services, Manufacturing and Production, Medical Communications, Research and Development, Sales and Marketing National Cancer Institute, appointment 

Dr Norman Sharpless has been named as Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. He will replace current Director Dr Doug Lowy, who took on the role in 2015. In his new position, one of Dr Sharpless’ primary remits will be to steer the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot.

Dr Sharpless boasts an illustrious background in the sector as the author over 150 scientific papers, chapters and reviews, the holder of 10 patents, and cofounder of two biomedical companies: oncology drug developer G1 Therapeutics and HealthSpan Diagnostics, a company producing a blood test to measure ‘molecular age’ via p16 expression. He is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Jefferson Pilot award, a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, and membership of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, serving on its council from 2011 to 2014.

Previously, Dr Sharpless served as Director of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center since January 2014, and has worked with Lineberger since 2002. He is also a co-Director of UNCseq, a large-scale human clinical trial which seeks to identify the most suitable chemotherapy for patients in real-time using tumour DNA sequencing.

The appointment, specified by President Donald Trump, has attracted praise from the oncology community, particularly for Dr Sharpless’ achievements in the field; President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Bruce Johnson said that the organisation was encouraged by Sharpless’ status as “an accomplished researcher with experience leading a wide range of clinical and translational research endeavours”, while the American Cancer Society called him an “excellent choice.”

NIH Director Francis Collins praised the work of Sharpless’ predecessor Dr Lowy, who will continue as a deputy director and researcher at the Institute: “Dr Lowy skilfully took the reins at NCI and led the agency as it developed and implemented the NIH component of the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative as well as many other important programs and scientific ventures,” he noted.

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