American Cancer Society Names New Chairman of Council for Extramural Grants: Dr. Russel E. Kaufman, President and CEO of The Wistar Institute

American Cancer Society Names New Chairman of Council for Extramural Grants: Dr. Russel E. Kaufman, President and CEO of The Wistar Institute

January 15, 2007

(PHILADELPHIA – January 16, 2007) – The American Cancer Society today announced the appointment of Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., as chairman of the society’s Council for Extramural Grants for a two-year term. Dr. Kaufman is President and CEO of The Wistar Institute, an independent nonprofit biomedical research organization with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Wistar is also a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center.

The Council for Extramural Grants is a committee of senior scientists that recommends funding levels for investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed cancer research proposals submitted to the American Cancer Society. Since its beginning in 1946, the society has funded about $3 billion in cancer research and health professional training. As the largest source of non-federal funding of cancer research in the United States, the society funds approximately $108 million in grants annually. This program has led to primary contributions in cancer diagnosis and treatment and supported the research of 38 Nobel Prize winners before they were recognized by the Nobel committee.

“The American Cancer Society is delighted that Dr. Kaufman has taken on this important responsibility,” said Christopher C. Widnell, Ph.D., Scientific Program Director for Extramural Grants for the American Cancer Society. “For more than a decade, he has played a key role in identifying the research projects that we fund and defining the direction of our research program. At a time when funding of biomedical research by the government is faltering, the role of private organizations becomes even more important. Dr. Kaufman’s expertise will be crucial in insuring that the society continues to make what will be an increasingly significant contribution to the development of novel directions in cancer research.”

“All of us aiming to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer know that research is the key to progress,” said Dr. Kaufman. “The extraordinary increase in recent years of new genetic information about cancer combined with the development of advanced tools to interpret that information make this a time of remarkable promise in our fight against cancer. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on the Council for Extramural Grants to help guide the direction of cancer research over the next two years.”

In addition to his administrative duties at Wistar, Dr. Kaufman also maintains an active research program at the institute, investigating the genetics of blood diseases and cancer. Dr. Kaufman was previously vice dean for education and academic affairs for the Duke University School of Medicine and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Duke University Health System. He was also a professor of medicine and biochemistry at Duke.

With long-standing interests in both basic and applied cancer research, Dr. Kaufman has served as a scientific advisor in these areas to the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and a number of other organizations. He has received awards for his work from the March of Dimes, the Arthritis Foundation, and others. He was named a Scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America, one of that organization's most prestigious awards. He was also tapped as one of the first Searle Scholars. The Searle Scholars Program supports top-flight academic research in biomedicine and chemistry. Currently, Dr. Kaufman also serves on the boards of the University of the Arts, Osage Venture Partners, and the Pharmaceutical Safety Institute. He is also board chairman for BioAdvance, the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research, with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the creation of the rubella vaccine that eradicated the disease in the U.S., rabies vaccines used worldwide, and a new rotavirus vaccine approved in 2006. Wistar scientists have also identified many cancer genes and developed monoclonal antibodies and other important research tools. Today, Wistar is home to eminent melanoma researchers and pioneering scientists working on experimental vaccines against flu, HIV, and other diseases. The institute works actively to transfer its inventions to the commercial sector to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the web at