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Cancer institute’s Sharpless to lead FDA in acting role

by Britt Erickson
March 16, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 11


Photo of Norman "Ned" Sharpless.
Credit: National Institutes of Health
Norman E. "Ned" Sharpless

Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, director of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), will serve as acting commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration after current chief Scott Gottlieb departs the agency next month. Gottlieb announced his resignation on March 5, saying he wants to spend more time with his wife and children, who live in Connecticut. Sharpless joined NCI in October 2017. During his short time at the institute, Sharpless worked to enhance data sharing and modernize clinical trials for new cancer treatments. He also led a group studying how the aging process leads to cancer in genetically engineered mice. Sharpless came to NCI with experience in academia as well as industry. He had served on the faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and directed the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also cofounded two biotech companies to develop cancer drugs (G1 Therapeutics) and diagnostics (HealthSpan Diagnostics). Sharpless earned his medical degree from the UNC School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at Harvard Medical School.


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