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Donald Trump nominates Dr Stephen Hahn as next FDA Commissioner

Published on 04/11/19 at 11:12am

The US FDA could be set to receive its next long-term Commissioner after the White House revealed President Donald Trump’s top pick to lead the regulatory agency.

Dr Stephen Hahn was announced as the Commander-in-Chief’s nomination for the role. Dr Hahn most recently served as the Chief Medical Executive at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in Houston, Texas since May 2018, a patient care organisation employing around 21,000 staff; the firm also generates over $5 billion annually and conducts “the largest number of clinical trials in the United States”.

A skilled radiation oncologist, Dr Hahn is the author of 220 peer-reviewed research articles, and specialises in the treatment of lung cancer and sarcoma.

Since January 2015, he has also served as Gilbert H Fletcher Memorial Distinguished Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology at MDACC since January 2015. Prior to this, from 1996 to 2014, he served at the University of Pennsylvania, holding the role of Henry K. Pancoast Professor and Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology from 2005 to 2014. And even earlier in his career, Dr Hahn was a Senior Investigator at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) between 1989 and 1996.

If the nomination is successful, Dr Hahn would succeed the previous Commissioner, Dr Scott Gottlieb, who was also nominated by Trump and had served at the agency as Deputy Commissioner under George W Bush’s administration. Dr Gottlieb announced his resignation from the role in March earlier this year to spend more time with his family. He has since rejoined the world of venture capital at New Enterprise Associates, the same company he originally left when tasking up the top FDA job.

Since Dr Gottlieb’s resignation, the FDA has been headed up by interim Commissioner Dr Ned Sharpless, who previously served as Director of the NCI, a division of the National Institutes of Health. In light of Hahn’s nomination, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that Dr Sharpless would be returning to his original post, while Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health, would be taking over as acting Commissioner at the agency until Hahn could be fully confirmed for the role on a permanent basis.

Matt Fellows

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