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Karen Mallet

V. Craig Jordan, Internationally Renowned Breast Cancer Scientist, Joins Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Jordan is Cancer Center's first Scientific Director

Washington, DC -- Georgetown University Medical Center and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center announce the recruitment of one of the world’s most respected cancer researchers, V. Craig Jordan, OBE, PhD, DSc.  Jordan joins Lombardi in July as scientific director for the cancer center and vice chairman of the department of oncology, and will occupy an endowed chair at the University.

Jordan’s scientific leadership is recognized the world over.  He brings an unparalleled focus to the excellent breast cancer program at Lombardi and joins nearly 30 faculty members working exclusively on finding a cure for the disease. Georgetown University is ranked 6th in the world for publications on breast cancer research underscoring its excellence and dedication to eradicating the disease.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Jordan join Lombardi,” says Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of the cancer center.  “His towering contributions to the field of breast cancer therapy are widely recognized and appreciated. I can think of no breast cancer researcher who has made more important observations, with more profound implications for improving the treatment of breast cancer.

“Dr. Jordan will occupy a vital role at Lombardi. While one of these prioritized areas certainly will be breast cancer, his charge extends to our entire scientific portfolio.  As scientific director, he will work with me to prioritize areas for scientific investment, and will be charged with identifying, creating and nurturing high-impact, multidisciplinary, cancer-focused collaborations within Lombardi, across the Georgetown University Medical Center and with other institutions.”

A pharmacologist whose research focuses on the response of breast cancer cells to preventive and treatment agents, Jordan is recognized by many as the "father" the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen, a drug that blocks estrogen from fueling some breast cancers.  Tamoxifen was the first in a class of drugs known as selective estrogen receptor modulators or SERMs.

“Craig Jordan is an extraordinary scientist whose research and insights have in effect created the endocrine breast cancer therapy known as SERMs,” says Howard J. Federoff, MD, PhD, executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center.  “His research has been innovative and through its translation has resulted in enormous clinical benefit for women with some forms of breast cancer.”

Tamoxifen revolutionized breast cancer treatment when it became the first drug proven to prevent cancer recurrence in women treated with adjuvant therapy for the disease.  Then, years later, tamoxifen became the first drug approved to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk of developing the disease.  Millions of women around the world continue to be treated with tamoxifen.  According to Jordan, tamoxifen has saved the lives of more than a half million women with breast cancer.

Tamoxifen was first studied as a contraceptive in the 1960s but shelved when the drug failed to prevent pregnancies.  Jordan was the first scientist to focus attention on tamoxifen's anticancer properties and its ability to prevent breast cancer in laboratory animals. His pioneering work guided the evolution from preclinical lab studies to clinical research on the drug.   Tamoxifen was the “gold standard” for endocrine therapy of breast cancer for 25 years.  A related drug and SERM, raloxifene, also came from Jordan’s laboratory.  Raloxifene is used both for the prevention of breast cancer and osteoporosis.

Jordan's distinguished list of national and international awards includes the 2008 ASCO David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award for advances that have changed the way doctors treat breast cancer patients.  Also in 2008, Jordan became one of five scholars from around the world to receive an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Society of Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) in London. The award is one of the highest honors in British medicine.

Jordan also received the 2007 University of Massachusetts Medical School/Worcester Foundation Gregory Pincus Memorial Award and Medal.  In 2006, he was honored with ASCO’s American Cancer Society Award for Chemoprevention.  Other awards include the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation's 2003 Charles F. Kettering Prize for the most outstanding contribution to cancer treatment, the American Cancer Society's 2002 Medal of Honor for basic research, the 2001 Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research and the first Brinker International Breast Cancer Award for Basic Science from the Susan G. Komen Foundation in 1992. In 2002, Queen Elizabeth II named him an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to international breast cancer research.

In addition, Jordan has been honored by the American Association for Cancer Research, in 1989 and 2002, the British Pharmacological Society, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the Royal Society of Chemistry and many other professional groups and institutions around the world. He also received the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition's 2001 Pink Ribbon Award for outstanding individuals dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer.

Jordan comes to Lombardi from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia where he serves as vice president and scientific director for the medical sciences and holds the Alfred G. Knudson Jr., MD, PhD, Chair in Cancer Research.  Jordan is also an adjunct professor of cancer biology at the University of Pennsylvania and a visiting professor of molecular medicine at the University of Leeds in England.

Before joining Fox Chase, Jordan was the Diana, Princess of Wales Professor of Cancer Research, professor of cancer pharmacology and director of the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Research Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University. He was also professor of molecular pharmacology and biological chemistry and professor of medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Born in Texas to an English mother and American father, he grew up in rural England and earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in pharmacology at the University of Leeds, completing his PhD in 1972. Although appointed to the faculty at Leeds, Jordan first came to the United States for postdoctoral training. He was a research associate and then a visiting scientist at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in Shrewsbury, Mass., from 1972 to 1974.

After teaching at Leeds until 1979, he held a one-year appointment to establish the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Berne in Switzerland and then joined the University of Wisconsin faculty in 1980. For his seminal contributions to the pharmacology of non-steroidal anti-estrogens, Leeds awarded him a doctor of science degree in 1985 and he became a full professor of human oncology and pharmacology at Wisconsin the same year. His roles at Wisconsin included directing the University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center Breast Cancer Program until he joined the Northwestern faculty in 1993.

About Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through Georgetown’s affiliation with MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, the world-renowned Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), home to 60 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.


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