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AACR Applauds Nomination of Stephen M. Hahn, MD, as FDA Commissioner

PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world’s first and largest cancer research organization dedicated to the prevention and cure of cancer, congratulates Stephen M. Hahn, MD, on his nomination as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hahn is a renowned expert in radiation oncology and research, an experienced and highly effective administrator, and an innovative leader.

“I have seen firsthand Dr. Hahn’s extraordinary dedication and commitment to cancer patients, and the AACR is extremely confident that he will be an outstanding leader for the FDA,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “Dr. Hahn, who is board certified in both radiation and medical oncology, is esteemed for the breadth and depth of his scientific knowledge and expertise, and he has consistently advocated for a drug review process at the FDA that is both science-directed and patient-focused.”

Hahn has been a member of the AACR since 1999. He served as an inaugural member of the AACR Radiation Science and Medicine Working Group Steering Committee and the AACR Radiation Oncology Task Force. Hahn has also served as a member of other AACR committees. He served with distinction in 2018 as cochair of the Workshop on Clinical Development of Drug-Radiotherapy Combinations held in partnership with the FDA, the AACR, and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). 

“The unprecedented research opportunities that exist today, coupled with our rapidly improving ability to translate these scientific advances into improved treatments for patients, require an experienced and visionary leader at the FDA,” said AACR President Elaine R. Mardis, PhD, co-executive director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Dr. Hahn’s impressive qualifications make him ideally positioned to succeed at the FDA, and the AACR looks forward to working with him upon his confirmation.”

Hahn is currently chief medical executive of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and was formerly chair of radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. He is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and other publications.

“For several years, I served with Dr. Hahn on a National Cancer Institute study section, and I always found him to be an extremely thoughtful and science-oriented grant reviewer,” said AACR President-Elect Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles. “He has always put the interests of patients first, by embracing the importance of regulatory science to truly inform and improve the way new cancer medicines are evaluated for safety and efficacy.” 

 “As acting commissioner, Dr. Sharpless served skillfully in this capacity, and the entire scientific and patient care community owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his outstanding oversight of the FDA,” said Foti.