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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2005
Contact: Karen E. Warmkessel kwarmkessel@umm.edu
Ellen Beth Levitt eblevitt@umm.edu 410-328-8919

INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN CANCER SURGEON FROM NCI TO OVERSEE CLINICAL RESEARCH AT UM DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY

H. Richard Alexander, Jr., M.D..

H. Richard Alexander, Jr., M.D., an internationally recognized cancer surgeon and leader in clinical research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will become associate chairman for clinical research in the University of Maryland Department of Surgery. As a surgical oncologist, he will also treat cancer patients at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Dr. Alexander, who is deputy director of the NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, will assume his new position and join the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in February 2006.

Dr. Alexander is recognized for developing innovative techniques to treat patients with advanced cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, especially the liver. One example is isolated hepatic perfusion, a way to circulate high doses of chemotherapy directly into the liver to treat patients with inoperable cancer. With this “closed loop” technique, only the liver is exposed to the chemotherapy, protecting other organs and minimizing the side effects of treatment.

Dr. Alexander says he plans to establish a program to offer isolated hepatic perfusion and other new, innovative treatments for advanced cancers in addition to performing the full range of surgical oncology services.

For More Information

Read a Q&A with Dr. Alexander for more on his clinical practice, research interests -- including a new, experimental treatment for liver cancer -- and future advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Also known for his expertise in endocrine disorders, Dr. Alexander is a consultant to physicians around the world on endocrine surgery and disorders of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands as well as tumors in the pancreas. His research interests also include the development of individualized cancer treatments based on an analysis of the genetic composition of a person’s tumors, known as gene expression profiling.

Dr. Alexander has been at the NCI for 16 years. He became chief of the surgical metabolism section in 1995 and took on additional duties as deputy director of the Center for Cancer Research in 2003. He is also chairman of the gastrointestinal malignancies section at the cancer research center.

“Dr. Alexander is an internationally known surgical oncologist who is widely recognized for pioneering treatments for patients with advanced liver and pancreatic cancer and melanoma,” says Stephen T. Bartlett, M.D., chairman and professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

“He will lead our clinical research program to new levels of success and will attract patients from throughout the world. Our patients will certainly benefit from his expertise,” adds Dr. Bartlett. The University of Maryland Department of Surgery is ranked ninth in the United States in research funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Kevin J. Cullen, M.D., director of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says, “Dr. Alexander is one of the most outstanding surgical oncologists in the country. He is a world-class researcher and has been a prominent leader of the clinical program at the NCI. We are extraordinarily pleased that he will be joining our team.”

“The University of Maryland is a phenomenal place. I was struck by the remarkable professionalism of everyone, particularly Dr. Bartlett and Dr. Cullen. I saw that they had tremendous vision and share my core values of excellence, integrity, compassion and teamwork. We also have the same goals, which include a commitment to advances in treatment, improving the health of the community and teaching the next generation of physician leaders,” Dr. Alexander says.

“ I look forward to fulfilling a number of roles here. I would like to contribute to the Department of Surgery’s clinical research activities and help the cancer center further develop its portfolio of clinical and laboratory research programs,” Dr. Alexander adds.

A graduate of the University of Colorado, Dr. Alexander received his medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in general surgery at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and did a fellowship in surgical oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Surgical Association and the Society of Surgical Oncology. He is a member of the Society of University Surgeons, the Association for Academic Surgery, the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons.

Dr. Alexander has written more than 200 journal articles and has lectured throughout the United States and the world. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Annals of Surgical Oncology. He is a reviewer for the New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Annals of Surgery and Surgery.

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This page was last updated on: January 24, 2007.