Yesterday, it was announced that Dr. Mark R. Gilbert, MD, has been named Chief of the Neuro-Oncology Branch (NOB) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), within the Center for Cancer Research of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In this position, Dr. Gilbert – previously Deputy Chairman of the Department of Neuro-Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center – will serve as “America’s Neuro-Oncologist.”
National Brain Tumor Society would like to offer our congratulations to Dr. Gilbert on his appointment, and applaud the leadership of NIH, including NCI and National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), in selecting a terrific candidate to fill this vital position.
“Having had the pleasure of working together with Dr. Gilbert on a number of projects* in recent years, I can attest to his expertise, professionalism, and dedication to the brain tumor community,” said David Arons, Chief Public Policy and Advocacy Officer, National Brain Tumor Society. “Dr. Gilbert is an excellent fit, and we look forward to working with him as he develops his programs and priorities for the Neuro-Oncology Branch moving forward.”
The Neuro-Oncology Branch is a cooperative program between the NCI and NINDS. Upon its establishment at the urging of brain tumor patient advocates in 2000 – with the legacy organizations of the National Brain Tumor Society at the forefront – the NOB became one of the first trans-institutional initiatives at the National Institutes of Health.
The NOB hosts both clinical and research functions, treating patients, as well as conducting and facilitating research to find better treatments for brain tumors. Thus the Branch plays an exceedingly important role as a treatment center option for patients, as well as the catalyst for critical brain tumor research.
Dr. Gilbert has initially indicated priorities for the Branch that are consistent with the National Brain Tumor Society’s own vision and initiatives, including creating a highly collaborative research program that focuses on rapidly connecting findings from the laboratory to the clinical setting. Dr. Gilbert has also expressed a desire – which the National Brain Tumor Society supports – to evaluate the potential of using new clinical trial designs to maximize the efficiency of these pivotal studies, as well as further examine the impact of the disease and treatment on brain tumor patients’ cognitive function, symptom burden, and quality of life.
Dr. Gilbert, who has also served as Co-chair of the Brain Tumor Committee for the NCI-associated Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) since 2010, is known as an expert in brain tumor clinical trials, and has been the primary investigator on a number of pivotal studies in the field of neuro-oncology. He is both an experienced clinician and researcher. He follows Dr. Howard A Fine, MD, as America’s Neuro-Oncologist. Dr. Fine was the first Chief of the NOB, serving from its inception until his departure in early 2013 to head a new brain tumor program at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Dr. Gilbert is expected to begin his new role in late November.
*Dr. Gilbert is a member of the National Brain Tumor Society’s Medical Advisory Board, Clinical Trial Endpoints Steering Committee, and Chair of the Jumpstarting Brain Tumor Drug Development Coalition’s Brain Tumor Imaging Standardization Steering Committee.