David S. Alberts, MD, Appointed Arizona Cancer Center Director

David S. Alberts, MD, Appointed Arizona Cancer Center Director

David S. Alberts, MD, regents professor of medicine, pharmacology, nutritional science, and public health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and director of the Arizona Cancer Center's Cancer Prevention and Control Program, has been appointed as director of the Arizona Cancer Center, effective Jan. 1, 2005.

"Dave Alberts is a world-renowned scientist with the premier program in cancer prevention," said Keith Joiner, MD, MPH, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine. "He is also a national and international leader in therapeutic trials for ovarian cancers. By any criteria, Dr. Alberts is a national and international leader, widely recognized as the best in his field. This is a time of great promise for the Arizona Cancer Center because the horizon is so enormous. Dave Alberts has the vision and perspective to see far out over that horizon and make the right decisions for the Arizona Cancer Center now and for the future."

Dr. Alberts has been at the University of Arizona since 1975 and has served as director of the Cancer Prevention and Control (CPC) Program since 1989. Between 1988 and 1996, he served as deputy director for the Arizona Cancer Center, and between 1996 and 2002, he served as associate dean for research in the College of Medicine. Dr. Alberts has been funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) yearly since 1971 for laboratory and clinical research related to the clinical pharmacology of cancer chemotherapy and chemopreventive agents, as well as the development of research strategies for the prevention of breast, cervix, colon, prostate and skin cancers.

The CPC Program is the largest program at the Arizona Cancer Center, with some 60 faculty members who represent six colleges and 23 academic departments at the University of Arizona. Since its inception, the program has grown rapidly through supporting faculty research interests in cancer prevention and control and successfully obtaining funding for research projects that encompass multiple disciplines.

The emphasis of Dr. Alberts' laboratory-based and clinical research has been the preclinical screening and Phase I-III clinical trials of promising chemical and biological agents for the chemoprevention of a wide variety of intraepithelial neoplasias (IENs), or precancerous lesions. He has led a broad national effort to emphasize that there should be a continuum of treatment for all phases of the carcinogenesis pathway, from the first initiated cell through mild, moderate and severe dysplasia, to carcinoma in situ and invasive cancer. This unifying view of cancer prevention and treatment could catalyze efforts by surgical, radiation, and edical oncologists to focus on "therapeutic" interventions for patients with a wide variety of IENs.

Since 1987, Dr. Alberts has served as the principal investigator for two NCI- funded cancer prevention program project grants: the Colon Cancer Prevention Program Project and the Chemoprevention of Skin Cancer Program Project. These two NCI grants have served as the intellectual glue for the Arizona Cancer Center's CPC Research Program in the area of translational cancer prevention research and have led to hundreds of important laboratory and clinically based peer-reviewed publications. From this strong foundation, many other research projects and contracts have been developed and funded over the years.

Dr. Alberts has authored or co-authored more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and more than 90 book chapters and 44 invited articles. In addition, he has served as editor and co-editor of four books. He has served on the editorial boards of several peer-reviewed scientific journals and as the editor of the Monthly Medical Oncology Column, Arizona Medicine. In 2002, he became co-editor-in-chief of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, the leading public health research journal worldwide.

Dr. Alberts received his MD in 1966 from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He conducted his internship at the University of Wisconsin, before becoming a clinical associate in medical oncology at the National Institutes of Health's Baltimore Cancer Research Center. Dr. Alberts conducted his residency at the University of Minnesota and then served on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, for five years. He joined the College of Medicine in 1975 as an assistant professor and was appointed regents professor in March 2004.

During his career, Dr. Alberts has served as an advisor to numerous cancer prevention foundations and committees, such as chair of the Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee to the FDA, and is a member of the NCI's Board of Scientific Advisors (1999-2006). He has chaired the Cancer Prevention Committee for the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) from 1994 to present.

Dr. Alberts has received numerous awards over the years. In 2000, he was acknowledged by Science to be one of the top three NIH-funded clinical researchers in the United States. In 2003, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) recognized his contributions to clinical care in the field of cancer with the AACR-Joseph H. Burchenal Clinical Research Award. In 2004, the American Society for Preventive Oncology (ASPO) gave him its Distinguished Career Award for research excellence.

The Arizona Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson. For more information, go to www.azcc.arizona.edu.