Texas Oncologist Named Director of National Cancer Institute
President Bush yesterday named Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, a prostate cancer expert at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, to become director of the National Cancer Institute, the Houston Chronicle reports. Von Eschenbach is the director of the Center for Genital and Urinary Cancers at the university and chair of the Defense Department's Prostate Cancer Research Integration Panel (Ackerman/Hopper, Houston Chronicle, 12/6). He has more than 20 years experience as an academic oncologist and was president-elect of the American Cancer Society's national Board of Directors, a position he has resigned in taking the NCI post (American Cancer Society release, 11/6). Von Eschenbach had been rumored to be a candidate to replace Surgeon General David Satcher, whose term ends Feb. 13. His appointment comes before Bush has named a NIH director, which as the institution's highest position, is typically named first, the Chronicle reports. With a $2.9 billion budget, the National Cancer Institute funds about 5,000 researchers at the NIH and about 650 universities and hospitals. Dr. John Mendelsohn, president of M.D. Anderson, said, "Dr. von Eschenbach is an excellent choice. He'll bring a breadth of experience -- he's a superb clinician, a thoughtful communicator and advocate for public education" (Houston Chronicle, 12/6). Announcing the appointment, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer called von Eschenbach -- himself a cancer survivor -- "one of the premiere lights" in the fight against cancer" (Recer, Associated Press, 12/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.