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For Immediate Release: March 7, 2011
Association of Community Cancer Centers to Honor Prominent Cancer Researcher and Former NCI Director
ROCKVILLE, Md.—John E. Niederhuber, MD, will be honored with the Association of Community Cancer Centers’ Annual Achievement Award for his long-standing advocacy, dedication, and commitment to the study and treatment of cancer. Dr. Niederhuber recently joined Inova Health System in Fairfax, Va., as executive vice president and CEO of the Inova Institute for Translational Research and Personalized Medicine.
The award will be presented at ACCC’s 37th Annual National Meeting on Friday, March 25, 2011, at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Niederhuber joins a long list of distinguished past recipients of ACCC's Annual Achievement Award that includes pioneering researcher Judah Folkman, MD; Harmon J. Eyre, MD, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society; H. Lee. Moffitt, an innovator and advocate of community access to clinical trials; Harold P. Freeman, MD, an early advocate and creator of patient navigation programs; and Susan Leigh, RN, BSN, founding member and past president of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS).
Prior to his position with Inova Health Systems, Dr. Niederhuber served as director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one of the National Institutes of Health, from 2006 until July, 2010. During his tenure as NCI director, Dr. Niederhuber shaped the nation’s investment in cancer to address areas that are likely to pay the largest health dividends. He began The Cancer Genome Atlas, an effort to comprehensively identify the genomic changes in all major cancer types and subtypes. In addition to genomic studies of cancer as well as work in cancer immunotherapy, programs in nanobiology, systems biology, investigations into the tumor microenvironment, cancer initiating cells, and subcellular imaging have benefited under his direction.
Dr. Niederhuber is recognized by his peers as a visionary leader in oncology. He daily puts into practice his expertise as both a cancer physician and a basic research scientist. His colleagues have acknowledged his leadership and accomplishments by electing him vice president and president of the Society for Surgical Oncology and president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes. He has served as a member of C-Change (a community of executives from government, business, and the non-profit community dedicated to conquering cancer) and as a member of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. Dr. Niederhuber is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, recognizing his outstanding scientific accomplishments and commitment to service in health sciences.
Dr. Niederhuber is an adjunct investigator in his own Laboratory of Tumor and Stem Cell Biology in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. His current research focuses on factors in the tumor microenvironment, in particular on cancer activated fibroblasts (CAFs) that lead to increased malignancy. MicroRNAs have been found to play a role in establishing the CAF phenotype. The laboratory is further investigating the origin and role of cancer stem-like cells in the initiation of malignancy. The laboratory is utilizing the NCI 60 cell line to investigate reliable cancer stem cell markers and is studying the role of tissue stem cells, thought to be precursors of cancer stem cells, in the establishment of malignancies of infectious origin. Both these avenues of study are geared towards the discovery novel targets for cancer therapy.
As a surgeon, Dr. Niederhuber’s clinical focus has been on gastrointestinal cancer, hepatobiliary (liver, bile duct, and gallbladder) cancer, pancreatic cancer and breast cancer. Recognized for his pioneering work in hepatic artery infusion chemotherapy, he was the first to demonstrate the feasibility of totally implantable vascular access devices which dramatically changed the administration of systemic chemotherapy.
Prior to coming to NCI, Dr. Niederhuber was director of the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center and a professor of surgery and oncology (member of the McArdle Laboratory) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. Earlier in his career, he chaired the Department of Surgery at Stanford University and held professorships at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and at the University of Michigan.