Global Cancer Conversations: Harold Varmus, M.D.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act, which includes an explicit
global mandate for the NCI. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the creation
of a dedicated NCI Center for Global Health. These simultaneous anniversaries inspired us to create a series called Global Cancer Conversations with key leaders to speak with them about their views on the current state of global cancer research and control.

Global Cancer Conversations features informal, pre-recorded interview-style discussions between CGH Director, Dr. Satish Gopal, and researchers and cancer control experts who have contributed to the global oncology field. The discussions provide opportunities for thoughtful dialogue concerning significant past events and achievements in global cancer research and control. It is an opportunity to reflect on historical events to inform and inspire future efforts.

In 2011, Dr. Harold Varmus served as the NCI director and created the NCI Center for Global Health. While Global health at NCI long predates the creation of CGH and even now is not confined to CGH, this was an opportunity to develop an intentional international program to improve cancer care and cancer research throughout the world. This new Center would allow NCI to play a major role in making a systematic approach to global cancer research and global cancer health. Listen now to hear more about the creation of the Center for Global Health and future opportunities.

Harold Varmus is currently the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and a senior associate at the New York Genome Center. He previously was the Director of the National Institutes of Health (1993-1999), president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York (2000 – 2010), and Director of the National Cancer Institute (2010 – 2015). In 1989, while on faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, Varmus and J. M. Bishop won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for their work on oncogenes. Varmus has also been awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the Alfred P. Sloan Prize, and is a foreign member of the Royal Society. Varmus is a co-founder of the Public Library of Science and is closely involved with numerous global health organizations.

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