Internationally recognized cancer expert Timothy Ley, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named to the National Cancer Advisory Board. President Barack Obama announced the appointment.
The board advises the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the president, regarding the nation’s cancer program. The board also reviews proposals awarded by NCI.
“I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to serve our country,” Obama said in a news release. “They bring their years of experience and expertise to this administration, and I look forward to working with them.”
Ley is the Lewis T. and Rosalind B. Apple Professor of Medicine and chief of the Section of Stem Cell Biology in the Division of Oncology, associate director for cancer genomics at the McDonnell Genome Institute and a research member at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
His research focuses on the genetics and genomics of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive blood cancer. His laboratory studies the development of normal and leukemic blood cells, in work aimed at identifying the mutations responsible for the initiation and progression of AML.
In a landmark 2008 study, Ley led a team that decoded the entire genome of a cancer patient’s tumor cells. The endeavor enabled researchers for the first time to compare the DNA sequences of a patient’s healthy and malignant cells to find genetic mutations that likely caused the disease.
The pioneering research has laid the groundwork for precision medicine in cancer, which targets treatment to a patient based on the genetic makeup of a tumor rather than its location in the body.
Ley is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also is a past president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and was chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Human Genome Research Institute.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Drake University in 1974 and his medical degree from Washington University in 1978.