Mendelsohn Announces Plans to Change Roles at MD Anderson

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Today MD Anderson President John Mendelsohn, M.D., announced his plans to return to a role in clinical and translational research once a new president is recruited and in place. 

"I've had the best job imaginable, working with amazing faculty, administrators and all employees, along with our many volunteers and supporters in the community. I am grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve as their leader at MD Anderson," says Mendelsohn, who has been president for nearly 15 years. "So much has been accomplished, but much more remains to be done. I am confident MD Anderson will continue to lead that worldwide effort."

He will stay on as a member of the MD Anderson faculty and as co-director of the new Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy (IPCT) with Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., who chairs the Department of Systems Biology. The IPCT is designed to bring together laboratory researchers, clinicians and investigators from many disciplines to test cancer therapies that target the abnormal genes and gene products detected in each individual patient's cancer.  

"Helping to launch the IPCT builds on my career experiences in developing the field of targeted cancer treatment," Mendelsohn says. "This position will allow me to continue to work at MD Anderson with people I admire, doing things for which I have great passion."

When Mendelsohn joined MD Anderson in 1996, he came with an international reputation for his research on how the binding of growth factor receptors on the surface of cells regulates cell functions. Upon his arrival, his focus quickly shifted from laboratory research and clinical trials to the intricacies of leading an intuition that now employs nearly 18,000 people and serves 100,000 patients yearly. 

But the numbers don't begin to describe what has developed at MD Anderson under Mendelsohn's leadership. During his tenure MD Anderson has:

•    Expanded clinical care activities by opening the Lowry and Peggy Mays Clinic, the Faculty Center, the T. Boone Pickens Academic Tower, Proton Therapy Center and a 320-bed expansion of the Alkek Hospital.  
•    Created the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment
•    Increased the cancer center's operating budget, private philanthropy and earned more competitive research grant dollars from NCI than any other U.S. cancer center or university.
•    Built a world-wide collaborative network of more than 20 sister institutions, and opened clinical programs bearing the MD Anderson name across greater Houston, in Orlando, Madrid, Istanbul, Albuquerque and soon in Phoenix.

See a full list of accomplishments

"John Mendelsohn is the epitome of a visionary leader. Not only did he lead The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to be the nation's -- and arguably the world's -- greatest cancer center, he also brought out the best in the entire MD Anderson community. That is why patients, their families and all those whose paths cross MD Anderson will always be grateful to John Mendelsohn. He is an inspiration to The University of Texas System, and we are fortunate that he will continue to make cancer history," says UT System Chancellor Fransisco Cigarroa, M.D.

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