December 9, 2002  

Contact: Keith Ayers, USA Director of Public Relations  (251) 460-6211

USA Cancer Research Institute Selects Internationally Renowned Scientists

A trio of internationally renowned cancer researchers has joined the University of South Alabama Cancer Research Institute.

Dr. Oystein Fodstad is director of the Institute for Cancer Research and Dr. Steinar Aamdal is head of Clinical Cancer Research, both at The Norwegian Radium Hospital in Oslo, Norway’s national cancer research center. Dr. Lewis K. Pannell is chief of the Structural Mass Spectrometry Facility and senior investigator with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health near Washington, D.C. The three were selected following an extensive international search.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have these researchers join us,” said USA Cancer Research Institute Director Dr. Michael Boyd. “Each is internationally recognized as a leading cancer researcher and leader in scientific discovery. This definitely enhances future recruiting as we work to achieve the highest possible level of excellence in research and treatment at the USA Cancer Research Institute.”

(L to R: Dr. Lewis K. Pannell, Dr. Oystein Fodstad, Dr. Michael Boyd, Dr. Steinar Aamdal)

“In addition to their incredible accumulated talent, these three people bring the USA Cancer Research Institute instant recognition and credibility in the scientific community,” said Dr. Robert A. Kreisberg, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the USA College of Medicine.    
“Science and research can cure disease. We know that. We must find a cure for the most dreaded disease of all – cancer,” said University President Gordon Moulton. “Our ambitious plan to develop a world class cancer institute can only happen through the support of our community and by bringing in distinguished scientists such as these.”

Fodstad will be director of the Center for Basic and Translational Science at the Institute and Aamdal will be deputy director for Clinical Research.

“Dr. Fodstad is an internationally renowned scientist and a veteran in developing an outstanding cancer research program,” Boyd said. “Dr. Aamdal is a clinical trialist par excellence, focusing on early-stage testing and investigations of new cancer drugs. Both men are a major part of Norway’s expertise in cancer research and treatment. They have worked closely together for years, and I’ve appreciated their stature and character for a long time.”

Boyd said the USA Cancer Research Institute and the Norwegian Radium Hospital may collaborate on future research efforts.

Pannell will serve as head of the Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Core Facility at the Institute’s Center for Basic and Translational Science.

“In Dr. Pannell, we have been extraordinarily fortunate to have one of the very best to join our ranks,” Boyd said. “We are incredibly lucky.” Pannell will also serve as professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the USA College of Medicine.

“It is very appealing to build something quite new,” Fodstad said of his move to USA. “It is also exciting to be able to select and work with people of the highest quality to do great research.”
Fodstad and Boyd have worked together and known each other for more than 20 years.

Fodstad has been director of the Institute for Cancer Research at The Norwegian Radium Hospital since 2000 and head of the department of tumor biology there for 15 years. He is also a professor in experimental cancer chemotherapy at the University of Oslo. He has had approximately 190 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, review articles and book chapters, and has seven patents issued in the United States, Europe and several countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

A native of Skreia, Norway, Fodstad earned his M.D. in 1967 and his Ph.D. in 1980, both from the University of Oslo.

Aamdal has been head of Clinical Cancer Research at The Norwegian Radium Hospital for nearly two years. He has been a senior oncologist at the hospital since 1987, specializing in melanoma and lung cancer research and treatment, and has published more than 70 scientific publications on cancer related topics. At USA, he will design and set up various clinical trials and work to develop a program similar to the one he directed at Norway’s internationally known cancer center.

“What really hooked me was the opportunity to help develop this new institute,” Aamdal said. “I’m excited at the thought of developing a regional cancer research network. The Institute will be a tremendous asset for patients, giving them access to leading-edge drugs and advanced treatment.”

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