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Dr. Robert Bast Appointed VP Position for Translational Research

Dr. Robert Bast Appointed VP Position for Translational Research
M. D. Anderson News Release 03/17/00

Dr. Robert C. Bast, Jr., a distinguished clinical scientist and head of the Division of Medicine at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, has been named to a newly-created position that will oversee one of the center’s premier strengths.

Dr. Bast has been appointed vice president for translational research, which bridges basic science concepts that are discovered in the laboratory with new drugs or therapies delivered to patients. At M. D. Anderson, basic scientists work closely with clinicians who see patients, merging two distinct areas of expertise to advance therapy.

In his new position, Dr. Bast will work with Dr. Margaret Kripke, senior vice president and chief academic officer, to facilitate collaborations between clinicians and laboratory investigators throughout the cancer center. Dr. Bast will serve as co-principal investigator of the Cancer Center Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute with Dr. John Mendelsohn, president of M. D. Anderson. He also will seek new collaborations with the public sector. Another particular interest of Dr. Bast is the training and development of physician scientists and clinician investigators.

“We are exceptionally fortunate to have Dr. Bast head one of M. D. Anderson’s most prized and unique areas,” said Dr. Mendelsohn. “His leadership of the Division of Medicine has brought M. D. Anderson outstanding new faculty, as well as an 80 percent growth in research grants and contracts and a 50 percent increase in patient activities within that division. With his track record, Dr. Bast knows what we need to do to propel translational research even further.”

Among his accomplishments, Dr. Bast is the principal investigator on M. D. Anderson’s five-year, $10 million SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) grant for ovarian research awarded by the National Cancer Institute in October 1999. It is the first SPORE grant given to M. D. Anderson as the lead institution.

He and his team also discovered a new gene whose expression is lost in breast and ovarian cancers, known as the ARHI tumor suppressor gene, which may lead to new techniques for measuring the aggressiveness of a tumor or to gene therapy.

Dr. Bast also continues his work with the CA-125 blood test for early detection of ovarian cancer, which he developed prior to joining the M. D. Anderson faculty.

Dr. Bast came to M. D. Anderson in 1994, after serving as director of the Duke (University) Comprehensive Cancer Center for seven years.

“Translational research is an area in which I have been working virtually my entire career,” said Dr. Bast. “There are few institutions that have the intense commitment to collaboration between the lab and clinic as M. D. Anderson and I look forward to leading and enhancing this important area.”

Dr. Bast is a native of Arlington, Va., who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School. Graduation was followed by an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, a residency at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, and fellowships at Sidney Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Thomas Brown, who has been deputy head of the Division of Medicine, will serve as ad interim head while recruitment efforts are under way.


© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center