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  Craig B. Thompson, MD, Appointed Director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania

(Philadelphia, PA) — Craig B. Thompson, MD, has been named the new Director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Vice President for Cancer Services of the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

The Abramson Cancer is Center is one of only 39 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States and one of the top five in National Cancer Institute funding. Last fiscal year, over 50,000 outpatient visits, 3400 inpatient admissions, 24,000 chemotherapy treatments, and more than 65,000 radiation treatments came through the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC). In his new position, Thompson will direct all clinical divisions of the ACC which include: the Rena Rowan Breast Center; the Melanoma and Pigmented Lesion Program; the Head and Neck Cancer Program; Neuro-Oncology; Urologic Oncology; Surgical Oncology; Radiation Oncology; Gynecologic Oncology; Gastrointestinal cancer; and hematologist cancers such as Leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

As Director, Thompson will oversee 300 active cancer researchers and 299 full-time Penn physicians and faculty from eight Schools and 41 Departments across the University involved in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. He will be responsible for $180 million in grant funding for cancer research and training, including $83.4 million in NCI funding.

His additional clinical duties will include heading the PENN Medicine Cancer Steering Committee and the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Network. The Abramson Cancer Center is the cornerstone of the Penn Cancer Network, which is the group of community hospitals throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey collaborating with the ACC to provide subspecialty care not usually available at most community hospitals, as well as the vast research and technological resources for patient care throughout the region.

“Dr. Thompson was selected for this position because of his reputation for excellence as a pioneer in cancer research, an exceptional educator, and above all, his career-long dedication to finding new approaches to treating and curing cancer,” says Arthur H. Rubenstein, MBBCH, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine.

Thompson joined Penn in 1999 as a Professor of Medicine, Scientific Director of The Leonard and Madlyn Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute (the basic science branch of Penn’s Cancer Center), and Penn’s first Chair of the Department of Cancer Biology. He will continue to serve in both of these positions in addition to his new appointment.

“This is a very exciting time for Penn with the construction of a proton therapy treatment facility and the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, which is to house all prevention, diagnostic, treatment, and support cancer services in a single patient-centered environment,” says Ralph W. Muller, Chief Executive Officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology, Dr. Thompson has also served as Deputy Director of the Abramson Cancer Center since 1999. Last year, he was selected as a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, an honor awarded to only four cancer scientists in 2005.

After an undergraduate career at Dartmouth College and graduate training at Dartmouth Medical School, Dr. Thompson received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977. He received clinical training in Internal Medicine at Harvard University and in Medical Oncology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute at the University of Washington. From there, Dr. Thompson was a physician at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, until 1983, and an assistant professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, also in Bethesda, from 1982 to 1987. In 1987, Dr. Thompson joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as an Assistant Professor in Medicine and an Associate Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 1993, he moved to the University of Chicago and was promoted to Professor of Medicine, Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Director of the Gwen Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research.

Dr. Thompson currently serves as Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Vice Chairman of the GM Cancer Research Prize Committee, a member of the Lasker Prize Jury, and as an Associate Editor of Cell, Science, Immunity, and Cancer Cell. In the past, Dr. Thompson has served as the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Damon Runyon/Walter Winchell Cancer Foundation, Chairman of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute, and a member of the Experimental Immunology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Thompson is the holder of a number of patents related to immunotherapy and apoptosis, and is a founder of two biotechnology companies. In addition to the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Thompson is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the American Association of Physicians.

Thompson resides on the Main Line with his wife Tullia Lindsten, MD, PhD. Together they have two children.


PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.


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