News Release

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

President Bush Announces His Intention to Appoint John E. Niederhuber the 13th Director of the National Cancer Institute

President Bush today announced that he intends to appoint John E. Niederhuber, M.D., to be the 13th director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Niederhuber has been a professor, cancer center director, National Cancer Advisory Board chair, external advisor to the NCI, grant reviewer, and laboratory investigator supported by NCI and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“NCI has an important mission in protecting the health of the American people and many important initiatives underway,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. “Dr. Niederhuber’s commitment to service and experience as a surgeon, a laboratory scientist, and a leader in translating lab advances into treatments for patients will serve NCI and the nation well.”

Niederhuber was named the institute’s acting director this June. “Dr. Niederhuber is a nationally renowned surgeon and researcher, and has dedicated his entire academic career to the treatment and study of cancer, thus making him an excellent choice to be the next Director of NCI,” said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.

In addition to his management of NCI, Niederhuber remains involved in research, through a laboratory on the NIH campus. Under his leadership, the Laboratory of Tumor and Stem Cell Biology (part of the Cell and Cancer Biology Branch of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research) is studying adult tissue stem cells as the cell-of-origin for cancer. Niederhuber also holds a clinical appointment on the NIH Clinical Center medical staff.

Prior to his current appointment, Niederhuber was NCI’s chief operating officer and deputy director for translational and clinical sciences, positions he assumed in September 2005. In June 2002, President Bush appointed Niederhuber chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCI’s board for oversight of its operations), a role he resigned in order to become NCI’s deputy director.

Before joining NCI in a full-time capacity, Niederhuber was a professor of surgery and oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine in Madison. He also served as director of the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of NCI’s 61 designated cancer centers. Earlier in his career, Niederhuber chaired the Department of Surgery at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. He also has held professorships at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Niederhuber is a graduate of Bethany College in West Virginia and the Ohio State University School of Medicine in Columbus.

Created in 1937 as the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research, NCI is the oldest of the 27 institutes and centers that comprise the NIH in Bethesda, Md. It is also the only NIH institute or center whose leader is directly appointed by the President.

To read a complete biography of Dr. Niederhuber, go to:

To download multi-resolution photographs of Dr. Niederhuber, go to:

For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI Web site at, or call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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