BETHESDA, MarylandRichard D. Klausner, MD, has resigned as
director of the National Cancer Institute to become president of a new
scientific organization, the Case Institute for Health, Science and Technology. In a letter to President George W. Bush, Dr. Klausner called
his 6-year tenure "the most challenging and rewarding of my career. The
NCI is a jewel that I have had the honor to lead."
Steve and Jean Case established the Case Institute as part of their
nonprofit Case Foundation. Steve Case is a founder of America Online (AOL) and
is now chairman of AOL Time Warner. The new Case Institute will be located in
Dr. Klausner, who continued a small research effort throughout his NCI
directorship, will continue to head his laboratory at NCI as an unpaid NIH
In a statement, Mr. Case said that the purpose of the new institute "is
to pioneer new ground in a space where science, medicine, and technology need
to converge in an unprecedented way. As many in these fields recognize, there
is a compelling need to establish new platforms to share information and
address challenges in a more collective way."
The Klausner era at NCI was marked by significant changes in management
structure and research direction. He was a strong advocate for biomedical
research, a pragmatic visionary capable of capturing an audiencewhether
layman or professionalwith his articulate road map to how science will
subdue cancer, and an effective voice on Capital Hill where Dr. Klausner
enjoyed good relations with members of both political parties.
"He has been a strong spokesman for the war on cancer, justified
doubling of the budget at NCI, and used the funds to expand research across the
spectrum of clinical, epidemiological, and basic sciences," said Phillip
A. Sharp, PhD, professor of biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and
chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board. "The NCI leadership under
Rick has led the community to embrace new technologies and science that have
already produced a new generation of highly effective cancer drugs with the
promise of many more in the future."
Under Dr. Klausner’s direction, the NCI reduced the percentage of research
funds allocated to intramural research and sharpened the focus of its inhouse
research. However, the increasing money that resulted from the 5-year effort to
double the NIH budget provided both intramural and extramural NCI researchers
with additional funds.