MD Anderson's James Abbruzzese selected chief of Division of Medical Oncology

Sunday, September 22, 2013

re 4.4.0">    <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdfMary Klotman, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, and Michael Kastan, MD, PhD, executive director of the Duke Cancer Institute, announced today that James Abbruzzese, MD, has agreed to be the Chief of the Division of Medical Oncology and Associate Director for Clinical Research for the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI), effective November 11, 2013.

Currently, Dr. Abbruzzese holds the Waun Ki Hong Distinguished Chair in Translational Oncology and he is chairman of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Digestive Diseases at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Over the last year, the Department of Medicine and DCI conducted a comprehensive national search for a new chief of the Division. Abbruzzese emerged as a top candidate. He is a leading expert in the clinical study and treatment of pancreatic cancer, and his management experience and vision for the Division will be important building blocks for continued success in cancer care and research at Duke.

Abbruzzese earned his medical degree with honors from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He also completed clinical fellowships in Infectious Diseases at the Johns Hopkins and in Medical Oncology and Medical Oncology Research Laboratory of Neoplastic Disease Mechanisms at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard Medical School. Abbruzzese has spent most of his professional career at M.D. Anderson, where he rose through the ranks to his current leadership positions as Chairman of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Associate Vice-Provost for Clinical Research.

Among his many accomplishments, Abbruzzese is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He has co-authored more than 400 research publications and currently serves as Chair of the Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee of the National Cancer Institute.

As associate director for clinical research in the DCI, Abbruzzese will guide and direct DCI’s 13 oncology disease-based clinical research groups, and he will be responsible for the clinical trials operation that encompasses more than 1000 open trials with an average annual accrual of 6000 patients. This is a role that has been held by Christopher Willett, MD, since the formation of the institute.

Abbruzzese also will lead the Division of Medical Oncology, a major partner in DCI. The Division has 58 full-time, regular-rank faculty members, and the clinical faculty now see more than 42,000 outpatients and 12,000 inpatients in more than 5200 clinic sessions each year. Just as importantly, the Division has a major research mission with a current research portfolio of $76 million in funding, 111 grants – of which 36 are NIH funded – and 188 active clinical trials. Learn more about the Division at

Abbruzzese succeeds Jeff Crawford, who has served as chief of the Division since 2004. He will remain at Duke to continue to provide outstanding patient care, clinical research and mentoring.