Below is a note from NCI Director Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach regarding his recent appointment as the acting commissioner of the FDA.
>To: Advocates in the Cancer Community
>From: Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D.
>Subject: My Added Role as Acting Commissioner of FDA
>President Bush last week honored me with the additional role of acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). With the support of Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt, I will work to ensure an orderly transition of a new, permanent leadership at the FDA.
>I am excited and eager in accepting the challenge. The FDA has a critical mission — to protect and improve the health of the American people. Let me assure you that while engaged in this interim role, I intend to continue to fulfill my equally important role as Director of NCI.
>As you know, the molecular metamorphosis in our understanding of disease has been led by the cancer community, but is not cancer-centric. Although many of the fundamental principles in basic science, clinical care and technology development were initially developed in a cancer framework, they apply to many other diseases. My joint positions at the NCI and FDA allow the opportunity to closely integrate the discovery aspects of biomedical research that have been led by the NCI and NIH with the delivery aspects of the FDA to ensure that safe and effective interventions are delivered to patients. While the missions of the NCI and FDA are very different, the purpose is the same — to bring patients the full benefits of molecular medicine.
>I’ve made it one of my top priorities for NCI to collaborate with the FDA to develop a series of joint initiatives. The two organizations are now working together on translational research, a critical aspect of the continuum of scientific discovery, development of new interventions, and delivery of treatments. Among other projects, NCI and FDA have announced a joint program to train a key group of young scientists — at both institutions — to understand both bench research and the process of drug approval.
>It is the strong professionalism of the management and staff at both organizations that will enable me to carry out the dual roles. Having worked closely with FDA staff members over the past four years, I have the utmost confidence in their skill and commitment. And having the pleasure to lead the NCI, I am reminded daily of the truly outstanding advocacy community who are making our challenge goal to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer by 2015 become a reality.
>Our extensive strategic planning and implementation process will assure that this critically important effort will
remain focused and productive at the NCI. I am fortunate and privileged to continue to be a part of this remarkable institution.