Former AACI Board Member is New Head of National Cancer Institute

As the new director of the National Cancer Institute, Norman E. Sharpless, MD, can already claim a close working relationship with an organization that represents 97 of North Americaís leading cancer research centers.

Dr. Sharpless was officially sworn in October 17 as head of NCI. Before assuming the nationís top cancer federal leadership post, he served on AACIís Board of Directors and was director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, an AACI member.

ďAACI is delighted that Dr. Sharpless has been sworn in as NCI director,Ē said AACI Executive Director Barbara Duffy Stewart, MPH. "As a former cancer center director and member of AACIís board of directors, he has first-hand knowledge of the unique contributions of the nationís cancer centers and we look forward to supporting him as he takes on this important leadership role."

Dr. Sharpless succeeds Douglas R. Lowy, MD, who served more than two years as NCIís acting director. Prior to Dr. Lowy delivering the NCI Directorís Report at the AACI annual meeting, AACI President-Elect Roy Jensen, MD, offered congratulatory remarks and presented Dr. Lowy with an AACI award recognizing his service to the cancer research community. The more than 300 assembled cancer center leaders expressed their appreciation with an enthusiastic standing ovation for Dr. Lowy.

Dr. Sharpless became director of UNC Lineberger on January 1, 2014, and he was the 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 led 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 fellow leader of an NCI-designated cancer center, I congratulate Ned and look forward to his guidance at the national level," said AACI President Stanton L. Gerson, MD, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland.