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Pietenpol named to NCI Blue Ribbon Panel

Apr. 7, 2016, 9:34 AM

Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., B.F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology and director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), has been selected to serve on a Blue Ribbon Panel that will inform the scientific direction and goals at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D.

The announcement was made by the NCI, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Pietenpol is among 28 scientific experts, cancer leaders and patient advocates on the Blue Ribbon Panel that will serve as a working group of the presidentially appointed National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) to provide scientific guidance from leaders in the cancer community.

“This Blue Ribbon Panel will ensure that, as NIH allocates new resources through the Moonshot, decisions will be grounded in the best science,” said Biden in an NIH release. “I look forward to working with this panel and many others involved with the Moonshot to make unprecedented improvements in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.”

Pietenpol said she is honored to be chosen to serve on the panel.

“The Vice President’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative provides a unique opportunity to focus on the most compelling scientific insights and to develop strategies that will accelerate our progress in developing new therapies for patients and prevention approaches for the population.”

Pietenpol and other Blue Ribbon Panel members represent a spectrum of scientific areas, including biology, immunology, genomics, diagnostics, bioinformatics, and cancer prevention and treatment.

Scientific members also include investigators with expertise in clinical trials and cancer health disparities, and members of cancer advocacy groups and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies will be represented on the panel and its working groups.

Over the next few months, the panel will consider how to advance the themes that have been proposed for the initiative, including the development of cancer vaccines, early detection, immunotherapy and combination therapies, single-cell genomic profiling of cancer cells and cells in the tumor microenvironment, enhanced data sharing and new approaches to the treatment of pediatric cancers.

To meet its milestones, the panel will convene its first meeting in the coming weeks and will also consider public comments prior to making its recommendations.

Members of the research community and the public can engage in the initiative by subscribing to updates on the main website ( or by emailing the panel at An online forum for submitting scientific ideas and comments will be available on the site in the coming weeks.

The NCAB will advise the NCI director based on its consideration of the Blue Ribbon Panel’s recommendations, expected later this summer.

A final report by the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, chaired by Biden, will be produced and delivered to President Barack Obama by Dec. 31.

In her VICC research laboratory, Pietenpol focuses on the p53 family of proteins and breast cancer, especially triple negative breast cancer, which is one of the most difficult to treat forms of the disease.

She joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1994 and was named director of VICC in 2007. In addition to her leadership at VICC, she recently completed service as a presidential appointee on the NCAB and serves as a member of the Institute of Medicine’s National Cancer Policy Forum.

Pietenpol has received numerous awards including the Burroughs Wellcome New Investigator Award, the Excellence in Teaching Award at VU and the Carleton College Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

She was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, and is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for outstanding contributions to the field of cancer research, particularly for advances in the understanding of signaling networks in breast and other cancers.

She has authored or co-authored more than 125 articles published in peer-reviewed scientific literature.

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