He led the National Cancer Institute’s new drug development program for a decade
Edward A. Sausville, M.D., Ph.D.
Edward A. Sausville, M.D., Ph.D., a nationally prominent leader in cancer research, will become associate director of clinical research at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center and will join the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Dr. Sausville is currently associate director of the National Cancer Institute’s Developmental Therapeutics Program, which has played a key role in developing many of the new cancer drugs in use today. He is expected to assume his new position in May.
Dr. Sausville will be part of a new leadership team at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. Kevin J. Cullen, M.D., an oncologist specializing in head and neck cancers, took over as director of the cancer center in January. He came from the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University. Alan E. Tomkinson, Ph.D., was recently appointed associate director for basic research. He held a similar position at the San Antonio Cancer Institute.
Read a Q&A with Dr. Sausville, in which he discusses his experience in and approach to new cancer drug development and more.
“We are very fortunate that Dr. Sausville, a talented scientist and nationally recognized leader in cancer research, will be joining our cancer center. We plan to expand our clinical research program, and Dr. Sausville’s experience in new drug development at the National Cancer Institute makes him uniquely qualified to lead that effort,” says Dr. Cullen, the cancer center director. “He will work very closely with Dr. Tomkinson to ensure that we turn promising new discoveries in the laboratory into new clinical options for our patients.”
“My top priority is to bring new treatments and good ideas to clinical research,” says Dr. Sausville. “In the last 25 years, there’s been a remarkable increase in our knowledge of how cells work and how cancer cells depart from the normal. We are using our knowledge of biology to give the most appropriate new treatments to individual patients, while at the same time minimizing their exposure to agents that have a low probability of working for them.”
“With our research activities, information flows from the patient to the lab and back to the patient again, presenting us with an exciting new set of opportunities,” Dr. Sausville says. “I am very committed to bringing new medicines and therapies out of the laboratory to patients’ bedsides.”
He adds that he was drawn to the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center because of its quality patient care, participation in clinical trials and collaboration with researchers throughout the University of Maryland whose studies may advance cancer therapy. “The cancer center is clinically oriented and provides excellent patient care. It is also a place that has helped set the standard around the world for treating patients with certain kinds of cancer,” Dr. Sausville says.
Dr. Sausville received his M.D. and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y., in the late 1970s. He completed his residency at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston in 1982 and a three-year fellowship in the clinical oncology program at the National Cancer Institute in 1985.
He then was an attending physician at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda and Georgetown University Hospital in Washington before returning to the National Cancer Institute in 1990. He has served as associate director of NCI’s Developmental Therapeutics Program since 1994.
The Developmental Therapeutics Program is involved in all aspects of drug development from the initial discovery of an agent in a basic research laboratory to wide-scale testing in a national clinical trial. NCI collaborates with government laboratories, research institutes, academic institutions and companies throughout the world in its search for new compounds.
One of the new drugs Dr. Sausville was instrumental in bringing to clinical study, in collaboration with Millennium Pharmaceuticals, was Velcade, the first of a new class of medicines called proteasome inhibitors that was approved last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer. The drug showed such promise in early trials that it received accelerated approval from the FDA and is now being studied for use in a wide variety of blood and solid cancers.
Dr. Sausville has published more than 250 articles in professional journals and lectured at cancer conferences around the world. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association of Cancer Research and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
The University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center is recognized for its multidisciplinary approach, with teams of specialists who work together to evaluate and treat patients. It has specialized programs for lung, prostate, breast, blood and brain cancers and is currently conducting more than 200 clinical studies.