Elias Zerhouni, MD, nominated by President
Bush to the position of director of the National Institutes of Health, is a
leading researcher in cardiovascular imaging.
Zerhouni also has a formidable
cancer background, having conducted substantial National Cancer Institute-funded
research early in his career on diagnostic imaging of lung, prostate,
colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. Moreover, he is a member of the NCI Board of
Scientific Advisors, and many of the 157 journal articles he has authored or
coauthored focus on cancer topics. In addition, Zerhouni is Martin Donner
Professor and chairman of the Russell H. Morgan department of radiology at Johns
Hopkins Medical School, as well as executive vice dean of the medical school.
His background prompted Martin D. Abeloff, director of the Sidney Kimmel
Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and a former president of the
American Society of Clinical Oncology, to say, "Dr. Zerhouni is an
impressive clinical scientist and administrator."
Bush chose Zerhouni not only for the quality and depth of his
research experience, but also because of his political acceptability: Zerhouni
is reported to oppose research on cloned human embryos, which is in line with
the Bush administration’s position. Democrats, who control the Senate, which
must confirm Zerhouni, favor a bill presented by Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(D-Calif) that bans human cloning but allows research involving nuclear
transplantation to produce stem cells. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass),
chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee,
commented positively on Zerhouni. Jim Manley, Kennedy’s spokesman, says
Zerhouni has "impressive credentials and a distinguished record at Johns
Hopkins." He adds, "We will review his record carefully."