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Former NIH Director May Be New Director of NCI

ObamaPresident Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Harold Varmus as director of the National Cancer Institute yesterday. Varmus is a former director of the National Institute of Health, bringing a wealth of expertise to the position.

Varmus is a co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the study of the genetic basis of cancer.  He is also a co-chair of Obama’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, as well as president of one of the premier cancer research and treatment institutions since January 2000: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Both HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and NIH Director Francis Collins applaud the president’s intent to nominate Varmus. Sebeluis said, “Today, cancer research is poised to move forward at an unprecedented speed and Harold is ideally qualified to lead the revolution to fight this formidable disease.”

Collins said he is personally thrilled to have his good friend and colleague back at NIH. He also said he believes they are extremely fortunate Varmus accepted the role of NCI director.

“I look forward to working together with him as we move forward on the development of new and powerful approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer,” Collins said. “Harold brings unmatched expertise at all levels – not only in cutting-edge scientific research, but also a leader in the development of strategies for improving patient care, education and training, and in designing novel public-private partnerships.”

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