NEWS OF THE WEEK
GOVERNMENT
December 17, 2001
Volume 79, Number 51
CENEAR 79 51 p. 12
ISSN 0009-2347
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CHANGES AFOOT AT NIH FOR 2002
Bush names new NCI director; plans are set for securing the NIH campus

WILLIAM SCHULZ

President George W. Bush has appointed prostate cancer expert Andrew C. von Eschenbach, a researcher at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, as director of NIH's National Cancer Institute. The NCI directorship is a presidentially appointed position that does not require Senate confirmation. Von Eschenbach replaces Richard D. Klausner, who had led NCI since 1995.

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Acknowledging Bush's White House announcement, von Eschenbach said, as NCI director, "I will be devoted to nurturing and promoting the paradigm of discovery through basic research." But he also recognized that "scientific discovery, although essential, is not sufficient. We cannot rest until we translate our new understanding of cancer into interventions that will detect cancer, new drugs that treat and even prevent cancer."

Von Eschenbach is a professor of surgery and a consulting professor of cell biology and biology at M. D. Anderson; a professor of urology at the University of Texas Medical Center, Houston; and director of M. D. Anderson's Center for Genital & Urinary Cancers. He is expected to take up the NCI post early in 2002.

He will find a less free and open campus when he arrives. NIH Acting Director Ruth L. Kirschstein announced that, because of security concerns following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. may soon be surrounded by a fence.

"Life at NIH will never be the same as it was before Sept. 11," Kirschstein remarked to the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director when the advisers met earlier this month.

Security at NIH has been noticeably beefed up since Sept. 11, she said. Only four of NIH's 11 entrances remain open to automobile traffic. In addition, security checkpoints at each NIH building mean that employees and visitors must show identification and are subject to X-ray and bag searches.

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