Trained in oncology and clinical pharmacology, David Alberts, M.D., became an early advocate of cancer prevention research, long before he took over as director of the University of Arizona’s Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2005. Although he retired in 2013, Dr. Alberts now serves as the center’s emeritus director, while his legacy of moving preventive medicine to the forefront of the nation’s war on cancer endures.
Throughout his 40-year career, Dr. Alberts focused largely on translational cancer prevention and treatment for many difficult cancers, such as breast, ovarian, prostate, colorectal and skin. The best opportunity to make a “dent” in cancer mortality statistics, he said, lay in prevention strategies that interrupted the carcinogenic process before malignancies developed, or in chemoprevention tactics that prolonged and bettered the lives of high-risk individuals facing one of these diseases.
Among his accomplishments is a program for Prevention of Skin Cancers, including melanoma, and a partnership with the Native American community for cancer prevention. In his extensive research portfolio, Dr. Alberts’ achievements include pioneering new approaches for treating advanced ovarian cancers and tireless evaluations of new biomarkers for many types of cancer meriting further study in cancer prevention trials.
Over the years, Dr. Alberts has served as chairman of the Food and Drug Administration’s Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee, as a member of the NCI’s Board of Scientific Advisors, and as Chair of the Gynecologic Prevention Committee for one of the legacy Cooperative Groups.
He also is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his contributions to both cancer clinical care and cancer prevention. Among them are the ASPO Distinguished Achievement Award for Lifetime Outstanding Achievements in Cancer Prevention Research, and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research. In 2014, he was honored with AACR’s Pioneer in Cancer Prevention Award.
Read more about Dr. Alberts at the University of Arizona website.