Prevent Cancer Foundation board member Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., FACS named next director of the National Cancer Institute


Kyra Meister

Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., FACS

Alexandria, Va. – The Biden administration has selected distinguished surgical oncologist and Prevent Cancer Foundation® board member Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., FACS, as the next director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Bertagnolli will replace the agency’s former director Ned Sharpless, who stepped down in April after a nearly five-year tenure. Dr. Bertagnolli is the first woman to be selected for this role, in which she will be responsible for the largest agency in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) focused on funding cancer research in the U.S.

Dr. Bertagnolli has served on the Foundation’s board since the beginning of 2022. As a relatively junior researcher, Dr. Bertagnolli received funding from the Prevent Cancer Foundation to support young researchers in her lab. She is also a member of the Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board. In this role, alongside other leaders in the fields of cancer prevention and early detection, Dr. Bertagnolli serves as a resource to continually update and review the information the Foundation uses to educate the public.

Currently, Dr. Bertagnolli is the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in the Field of Surgical Oncology at Harvard Medical School, and a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Disease Centers at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center, where she collaborates with colleagues in medical oncology, radiation oncology and pathology to treat cancer patients in a tertiary care setting.

Dr. Bertagnolli has a background in laboratory work focusing upon understanding the role of the inflammatory response in epithelial tumor formation. She previously led gastrointestinal correlative science initiatives within the NCI-funded Cancer Cooperative Groups and served as the Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center. Dr. Bertagnolli has had numerous leadership roles in multi-institutional cancer clinical research consortia, currently serving as the group chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, a nation-wide NCI-funded clinical trials group. She is also the chief executive officer of Alliance Foundation Trials, LLC, a not-for-profit corporation that conducts international cancer clinical trials.

“We are thrilled for Monica as she accepts this appointment, which recognizes her decades-long commitment to leadership and innovation in the field,” said Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé, Founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “We have cherished Monica’s service on our board and longtime relationship with the Foundation over the years and look forward to her impending arrival in the greater Washington area as she brings her expertise in patient work and vast experience in clinical trials to the work of the National Cancer Institute.”


About the Prevent Cancer Foundation®

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is the only U.S. nonprofit organization focused solely on saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection. Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated.

The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options.

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