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MD Anderson's DePinho Steps Down

Ronald DePinho, the president of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, has resigned, according to Stat News.

DePinho was appointed to the position in 2011, and his tenure has been marked by financial problems and questions about spending and management practices, it says, adding that the center posted a $267 million loss for fiscal year 2016 and recently announced it would be laying off some 1,000 employees.

In a statement, DePinho takes the blame. "I could have done a better job administratively, a better job listening, a better job communicating," he says. "Forgive me for my shortcomings."

DePinho's time there got off to a rocky start as, in 2012, questions arose about an $18 million grant awarded to a research team led by DePinho's wife, Lynda Chin, at MD Anderson's Institute for Applied Cancer Sciences. The grant, Nature News reported at the time, appeared to have been awarded without scientific review. Chin said that her team followed the RFA, while DePinho added the review was consistent with the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas's guidelines.

Stat News adds that a recent audit by the University of Texas uncovered issues with contracts between the cancer institute and IBM — the two had teamed up to use IBM's Watson to better tailor cancer treatments — and the consultant PwC. The audit said that the contracts were not competitively bid, went beyond the approved scope of work, and were paid whether or not work was completed as agreed, according to Stat News.

In his statement, DePinho says he will now be focusing on translational science, the cancer moonshot, and the national cancer and health policy landscape.