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Varmus to Lead NCI

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - President Barack Obama has appointed former National Institutes of Health Director and present Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center President Harold Varmus to be director of the National Cancer Institute.

Varmus replaces John Niederhuber, who was appointed NCI director by President George W. Bush in 2006.

"It is exhilarating and gratifying to have my good friend and colleague Harold Varmus back at NIH," NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement.

"Harold brings unmatched expertise at all levels — not only in cutting edge scientific research, but also as a leader in the development of strategies for improving patient care, education and training, and in designing novel public-private partnerships," he added.

"Among his many professional distinctions, he is a Nobel laureate in cancer genetics; has been president of one of the premier cancer research and treatment institutions for the past decade; and previously has served the public as NIH director in the 1990s," Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted.

"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," she said.

Varmus led NIH during the Clinton presidency and already has a relationship with the Obama administration; he is co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

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