Who: Dr. Douglas Lowy, 72
New role: Acting director of the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Past work: Lowy has been deputy director of the NCI since July 2010. He has been a lab chief for the past 30 years, focusing his studies on genes that regulate abnormal growth. Last year, President Barack Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to Lowy and John Schiller, another cancer scientist, for work that led to the development of the human papillomavirus vaccine, critical in the fight against cervical cancer.
Exploring sustainable treatments: “One of the big challenges with cancer treatment is that cancer cells are remarkably plastic, they change. They're continually evolving, so even when our treatment works effectively on the short-term basis, we often end up with treatment resistance.”
Advancing the fight against cancer: “Some of the progress is in cancer prevention, some is in cancer screening and diagnosis and some is in the area of cancer treatment. I would argue that, although this rate of progress is slower than all of us would hope, it really is progress on all of these fronts.” He cited a more than 20% reduction in cancer deaths in the past 20 years.