ASTRO Supports Monica Bertagnolli as NCI Director

By News Release


Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to appoint Dr Monica Bertagnolli as the 16th  – and first woman – Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In a released statement, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) expressed its support for the selection of Dr Bertagnolli.

“ASTRO congratulates Dr. Monica Bertagnolli on her appointment to lead the National Cancer Institute. The radiation oncology community looks forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli and the NCI on efforts to improve patient outcomes and address disparities in cancer care, such as the recently reignited Cancer Moonshot initiative,” said Laura A. Dawson, MD, FASTRO, Chair of the ASTRO Board of Directors.

“Collaboration between public and private sectors contributed to averting more than three million deaths from cancer in the U.S. over the past three decades,” the statement continues. “The COVID-19 pandemic introduced new threats to this progress, however, such as delayed cancer screenings, interruptions to most non-COVID clinical trials and widened care gaps that negatively affect patients from marginalized communities, such as those in lower socioeconomic brackets and in more remote areas. ASTRO stands ready to work with Dr. Bertagnolli and her team to renew the progress toward cures and improved quality of life for people with cancer, and to advance policies that support more inclusive clinical trials.”

Radiation therapy is partially or fully responsible for 40% of all cancer cures, yet National Institutes of Health (NIH) forecasts indicate that radiation oncology research accounts for less than 6% of the FY2022 NCI budget. ASTRO looks forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli to ensure radiation oncology contributes substantially to achieving President Biden’s goal of reducing cancer mortality by 50% over the next 25 years.