“Father of Tamoxifen” to Join MD Anderson

Breast Cancer Research Pioneer V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., Developer Of Several Cancer-Fighting Drugs, Brings His Translational Research Expertise To Houston

MD Anderson News Release 07/21/14

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is pleased to announce that one of the world’s preeminent experts in breast cancer research and treatment, V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., will join the institution’s efforts to end cancer.  Jordan is considered the “Father of Tamoxifen,” the groundbreaking therapeutic drug that has saved countless lives. 

As a professor in Breast Medical Oncology and Molecular and Cellular Oncology Jordan will focus on the new biology of estrogen-induced cell death with the goal of developing translational approaches for treating and preventing cancer. He will begin work at MD Anderson in October.

“This is an exciting moment and I’m delighted that Dr. Jordan will be contributing to significant translational research activities in breast cancer here at MD Anderson,” said Ron DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “His international reputation as a trailblazer in translational research and his many achievements and honors are well deserved. As we progress in our mission of ending cancer in Texas, the nation and the world, it is outstanding scientists like Dr. Jordan who will play key roles in delivering on that promise.”

Jordan’s long and distinguished career has included leadership positions at some of the world’s most prestigious biomedical institutions. Currently, he’s scientific director of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and the Vincent T. Lombardi Chair of Translational Cancer Research. He also serves as vice chairman of the Department of Oncology and professor of oncology and pharmacology at Georgetown University’s Medical School. In addition, he’s a visiting professor of molecular medicine at the University of Leeds in England, and an adjunct professor of molecular pharmacology and biological chemistry at Northwestern University in Chicago.

“Dr. Jordan’s election as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 is just one of the many honors he’s received as a result of his incredible contributions to our understanding of cancer biology,” said Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., MD Anderson provost and executive vice president. “MD Anderson is known for bringing the best minds together for the shared purpose of ending cancer. Certainly, a scientist of Dr. Jordan’s caliber adds significantly to our overall research programs. His arrival is due in no small part to the efforts of Debu Tripathy, M.D. and Vicente Valero, M.D."

Dr. Tripathy is MD Anderson’s new Chair of Breast Medical Oncology.  He will begin his work at the institution in September.

In addition to his National Academy membership, Jordan’s list of achievements, awards and accomplishments is long, featuring more than four-dozen international awards. The list includes:

  • The St. Gallen Prize for Breast Cancer (2011)
  • The David A. Karnofsky Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (2008)
  • The George and Christine Sosnovsky Award in Cancer Therapy (2004)
  • The Charles F. Kettering Prize (2003)
  • The American Cancer Society Medal of Honor (2002)
  • The Dorothy P. Landon Award in Translational Research from the American Association for Cancer Research (2002)
  • The Bristol Myers Squibb Award (2001)
  • The Cameron Prize from the University of Edinburgh (1993)

Jordan has received six honorary fellowships or degrees from universities around the world including an honorary fellowship from the Royal Society of Medicine. In 2010, he was elected president of the Royal Society of Medicine Foundation of North America. Jordan was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the United Kingdom’s equivalent to the Institute of Medicine.

He has contributed to more than 700 publications, 99 percent of which pertain to cancer research. He has edited 11 books and has more than 26,000 scientific citations. He’s author of the book “Tamoxifen, Pioneering Medicine in Breast Cancer.”

Jordan, who was born in New Braunfels, Texas and raised in England, has dual British and U.S. citizenship. In 2002, he received the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II for services to international breast cancer research. He earned a Ph.D. and D.Sc. from the University of Leeds and in 2001 received an honorary M.D. from his alma mater.

“I am proud to join MD Anderson Cancer Center,” said Jordan. “It is indeed an honor to continue my work at this world renowned cancer center where I look forward to working with my distinguished colleagues.”

Jordan is credited with reinventing a failed contraceptive (known as ICI 46,474) as a breast cancer treatment. The drug, in existence since the 1960s, was originally created to block estrogen in the hopes of preventing pregnancy. Jordan developed the strategy of long-term adjuvant tamoxifen therapy, as well as describing and deciphering the properties of a new group of medicines called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). He was the first to discover the preventive abilities of both tamoxifen and the drug raloxifene. The medicines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration for reducing breast cancer incidence in high-risk women.

Prior to joining Georgetown University, Jordan served on the faculties at Northwestern University Medical School; the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison, Wis.; the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Berne, Switzerland; and the University of Leeds, England.