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Dr. von Eschenbach Gives His Views on the Future of NIH and Its Research Thrust

Dr. von Eschenbach Gives His Views on the Future of NIH and Its Research Thrust

BETHESDA, Maryland—The new director of the National Cancer Institute
intends to advance NCI’s role in the discovery and application of specific
targets for diagnosing and treating cancer, and to increase its interaction
with other organizations to more fully integrate and coordinate cancer research
and care.

"Our emerging understanding of cancer at the genetic, molecular, and
cellular levels opens up enormous opportunities to alter disease processes at
each level," said Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD. "The paradigm that I
grew up with as an oncologist was to find cancer and kill it. Now we can look
forward not only to eradicating cancer but also to targeting and controlling it
by modulating and altering the behavior of cancer."

Forging Partnerships

Dr. von Eschenbach said the Institute would continue to forge partnerships
with federal, state, and local governments, industry, and nonprofit groups
participating in the battle against cancer. "The NCI can’t provide for
everything that is required for a successful national cancer agenda, but it
must play a key leadership role in making sure the agenda is fulfilled,"
he said. "Cooperation, collaboration, and integration are very
important."

Dr. von Eschenbach assumed his post in January as NCI’s 12th director. He
made his comments regarding his goals in an interview conducted and released by
the NCI office of communications.

The new NCI chief trained as a urological surgeon and joined the faculty at
the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1977, where he focused
much of his research on prostate cancer. At the time of his appointment as NCI
director by President Bush, he was professor of urologic oncology at M. D.
Anderson and served as the director of its Genitourinary Cancer Center and its
Prostate Cancer Center.

Unlike many past NCI directors, its newest leader has never worked at the
Institute. Nonetheless, he said his many years at M. D. Anderson have provided
him an understanding of how a governmental system functions, and its rules,
regulations, and processes.

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