M. D. Anderson's Incoming Provost Named President-Elect of AACR
Fifth M. D. Anderson faculty member to be awarded distinctionM. D. Anderson News Release 03/27/07
Continuing a strong tradition of national cancer leadership, Raymond DuBois, M.D. Ph.D., The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center's incoming provost and executive vice president, has been voted president-elect of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
He is the fifth M. D. Anderson faculty member chosen for the distinction of heading the largest and oldest scientific organization in the world dedicated to cancer.
An internationally recognized scientist, DuBois's research focuses on the molecular and genetic bases of colorectal cancer. He is regarded for elucidating a key role of the prostaglandin biosynthetic pathway in producing inflammatory mediators that promote colorectal cancer. This research led to clinical trials targeting this pathway in humans, which demonstrated a reduction in colon polyps.
DuBois has been active in the organization and has held a number of leadership positions in AACR.
"Being voted ACCR president-elect is an incredible honor and comes at quite an exciting time for cancer discovery," says DuBois. "There have been so many new targets identified for treatment, some of which have been very effective, and technology has really progressed so that we can identify all of the molecules involved in the cancer process. I think we have the potential to make even more progress in the next decade than we have in the last 100 years."
Given the recent and projected budget cuts at both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), DuBois recognizes that his presidency does not come without timely challenges.
"The cancer research community is going through some difficult times - money is very tight, there is no question," says DuBois. "One of my priorities at AACR will be to increase federal funding. The more we can get cancer research on the national agenda, I think the better off we all will be."
To help offset the governmental budget cuts, DuBois says AACR plans to identify more private philanthropic funds for specific cancer types - an endeavor has he already taken on for colon cancer research. Through his leadership and outreach to the Littlefield Foundation, AACR and the Littlefield 2000 Trust have partnered to offer the Jeannik M. Littlefield-AACR Grants in Metastatic Colon Cancer Research. To date, about $3 million has been awarded by the partnership to colon cancer research, and another $3 million has been provided for grants to be awarded this year.
Another priority for DuBois will be to expand AACR's international focus. "AACR has a growing number of members from Asia and throughout Europe and there's been the feeling within the organization that their needs may be underrepresented," says DuBois. "We are going to place more effort on reaching out to international members. Countries like China are expanding their cancer research budget exponentially and we need to be prepared for the fact that there will be much more cancer research coming from other areas of the world."
Career development for post-docs and young scientists also will be a focus for DuBois. "There is an entire generation of investigators that we are endanger of losing if we do not pay more attention to their educational and mentoring needs."
DuBois arrives at M. D. Anderson this summer; previously, he served as director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. At M. D. Anderson, he will have responsibility and authority for the institution's research agenda - a program that in 2006 had expenditures of $410 million and includes the largest clinical trials program for cancer in the nation, with more than 10,000 patients taking part in trials of potential new therapies for cancer. Other responsibilities will include: resources and space; educational programs at all levels; overseeing M. D. Anderson's growing domestic and international training programs, including 15 affiliations with global sister institutions; and all activities related to the appointment, resourcing and mentoring of faculty. In addition, DuBois will continue his own research program and lab.
Prior to DuBois, four M. D. Anderson faculty members have held the position of AACR president: Waun Ki Hong, M.D., head of the division of Cancer Medicine; Margaret Kripke, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief academic officer; Louise Strong, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Cancer Genetics; and Isaiah J. Fidler, D.V.M., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Cancer Biology.
Simultaneously in 2007, three M. D. Anderson faculty members are leading national medical organizations: Gabriel Hortobagyi, M.D. is president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; Kian Ang, M.D., Ph.D., is president of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology; and Raphael Pollock, M.D., Ph.D., is president of the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO). Prior to Pollock serving as president of SSO, M. D. Anderson's Eva Singletary, M.D., professor of surgery, was the first woman to hold that organization's highest office.