AACI Board Member Sharpless To Be Next NCI Director

On June 9 the White House announced President Donald Trump’s intention to appoint Norman “Ned” Sharpless, MD as the next National Cancer Institute (NCI) director. Dr. Sharpless is director of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of 97 AACI member cancer centers in the U.S. and Canada. He currently serves on AACI’s Board of Directors. Dr. Sharpless will replace Douglas Lowy, MD, who has served as acting director since Harold Varmus, MD, stepped down in 2015. Dr. Varmus is the former president of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, also an AACI member.

AACI acknowledged the skillful leadership provided by Dr. Lowy during his tenure as acting director and congratulated Dr. Sharpless on the appointment. “Ned is an accomplished physician-scientist and a strong advocate for cancer research both basic and translational, and is respected by his colleagues,” said AACI President Stanton L. Gerson, MD, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Asa and Patricia Shiverick-Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of hematological oncology, and director of University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. “As a fellow leader of an NCI-designated cancer center, I congratulate Ned on his appointment and look forward to his guidance at the national level.”

Dr. Sharpless became director of UNC Lineberger on January 1, 2014, and is a Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. A practicing oncologist caring for patients with leukemia, Dr. Sharpless also leads a research group studying the cell cycle and its role in cancer and aging. He has authored more than 150 original scientific papers, reviews and book chapters. He holds 10 patents that form the core intellectual property of two North Carolina-based biotechnology startup companies.

“As a cancer center director and an active member of AACI’s Board of Directors, Dr. Sharpless has made important contributions to the advancement of cancer research, in both the scientific and policy realms,” said AACI Executive Director Barbara Duffy Stewart, MPH. “The cancer community will be well-served by his considerable experience and expertise.”