January 1, 2021, marked Duke Cancer Institute's 49th year as an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the first to be so designated by the NCI Cancer Centers Program that grew out of the National Cancer Act of 1971. The NCI Cancer Centers Program is one of the anchors of America’s cancer research effort.
As an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center, DCI has, until recently, maintained eight basic, clinical, translational, and population science NCI-Designated Research Programs — each designed to address research opportunities impacting cancer care.
As of the first of the year, however, the Research Programs have undergone a reconfiguration into seven such programs.
In a recent message to faculty, DCI director Michael B. Kastan, MD, Ph.D., detailed these changes, which included some new program names and some newly appointed leaders. Additionally, Kastan announced the appointments of two new associate directors — in Basic Research (last year) and in Translational Research (this year).
"These changes are a result of many months of discussions among a broad group of DCI leaders and have been enthusiastically endorsed by our External Scientific Advisory Committee," said Kastan. "We believe that these changes reflect the goals of DCI, the expectations of the NCI, and better support the current and future needs and research efforts of our faculty."
Mark Dewhirst, DVM, Ph.D., stepped down from his active faculty position last year, including his long-standing role at DCI as associate director for Basic Research. Christopher Counter, Ph.D., who has been active in DCI leadership for many years, stepped up to fill this important position.
Bruce Sullenger, Ph.D., who has served as associate director for Translational Research at DCI for nearly a decade, recently stepped down from this role. Donald McDonnell, Ph.D., has taken his place.
"We express our sincerest gratitude to Mark and Bruce for their years of dedicated leadership and welcome Chris and Donald to their new roles," said Kastan.