WASHINGTONPresident Bush moved quickly to appoint a new director
of the National Cancer Institute, naming Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, a
professor of urology at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and
a cancer survivor.
The President announced his choice 9 weeks after the departure of former NCI
director Richard D. Klausner, MD, who left NCI to become president of the Case
Institute for Health, Science, and Technology.
Prior to accepting the NCI directorship, Dr. von Eschenbach held the Roy M.
and Phyllis Gough Huffington Research Distinguished Chair in Urologic Oncology
at M.D. Anderson and served as director of the center’s Genitourinary Cancer
Center and its Prostate Cancer Research Program. He was also president-elect of
the American Cancer Society, a position he resigned on being named NCI
Mr. Bush announced Dr. von Eschenbach’s appointment at a White House
ceremony attended by Tommy G. Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services,
and other senior government officials. Dr. von Eschenbach will serve as the
12th director of the NCI since Congress created it in 1938, the first unit of
what would become the National Institutes of Health.
"Andy von Eschenbach is one of America’s finest medical
researchers," President Bush said. "Andy also 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 compassion for the millions
of cancer patients and their families who are struggling with this
Dr. von Eschenbach was diagnosed with melanoma in 1989 and with prostate
cancer in 2000. He has said that his career decision to focus his research
efforts on prostate cancer was influenced in part by his father’s struggle
with the disease in the 1970s.
Speaking at the White House ceremony, Dr. von Eschenbach said, "God has
blessed America with talent, resources, and resolve. And today, Mr. President,
I am blessed by your trust and your confidence. To those to whom much is given,
much is expected. I pledge to honor your trust by following your example of
fostering cooperations and collaborations that make it possible for Americans
to meet any challengeeven the challenge of conquering cancer."