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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

First Bernard Fisher Professor Of Surgery Appointed At University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine

PITTSBURGH, January 25, 2006 — The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has named David L. Bartlett, M.D., professor of surgery and chief of the division of surgical oncology at the school, as its inaugural Dr. Bernard Fisher Professor of Surgery. The professorship is named in honor of Bernard Fisher, M.D., Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery at the School of Medicine, who has made significant contributions to the treatment and understanding of breast cancer.

Dr. Bartlett, who has been a member of the school’s faculty since October 2001, will be installed in conjunction with this year’s Bernard Fisher Lecture on Wednesday, Feb. 1. Larry Norton, M.D., of New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a medical oncologist renowned as a leader in the development of chemotherapeutic regimens for breast cancer, will be delivering the lecture.

“Dr. Bartlett is one of the university’s leading oncologists and a most deserving selection for the Fisher professorship,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

In addition to his academic appointment at the School of Medicine, Dr. Bartlett is director of the David C. Koch Regional Perfusion Cancer Therapy Center at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. A specialist in the regional delivery of chemotherapy to different organ systems, his clinical expertise lies in the management of advanced, complex abdominal cancers, such as those of the liver, gallbladder and pancreas. He helped develop a technique for delivering hyperthermia and chemotherapy directly to the peritoneal cavity as a recirculating perfusion, which delivers chemotherapy in the operating room to patients with disease confined to the peritoneal cavity. Dr. Bartlett also has worked with chemotherapy delivery to the arm or the leg, which can be a treatment strategy for melanoma that has spread throughout the limb. Prior to coming to Pittsburgh in 2001, Dr. Bartlett was a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research.

Dr. Bartlett earned his bachelor’s degree at Rice University and received his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He completed residency training in surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and was a fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. He is a member of the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society of Gene Therapy.

“It is fitting that we have this opportunity to honor the accomplishments of Dr. David Bartlett, one of the nation’s leading surgical oncologists, by recognizing him as the inaugural Dr. Bernard Fisher Professor of Surgery,” said Timothy R. Billiar, M.D., George V. Foster Professor of Surgery and chair of the department of surgery.

Dr. Fisher, a 1943 graduate of Pitt’s medical school, is past chairman and scientific director of the Pittsburgh-based research consortium known as the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, which, in the late 1960s, found radical mastectomy to be no more effective than total mastectomy and, in turn, total mastectomy to be no more effective than lumpectomy in treating breast cancer. In 1990, Dr. Fisher’s group went on to show the effectiveness of adjuvant chemotherapy and hormonal therapy (tamoxifen) in treating breast cancer as a systemic disease, not one that could be cured by surgery alone. In subsequent studies, he found that tamoxifen substantially reduces the incidence of breast cancer in high-risk women, providing evidence that breast cancer can be both treated and prevented.

Dr. Fisher’s many honors and awards include the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation’s Kettering Prize, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor and the American Surgical Association Medallion for Scientific Achievement.

In this year’s Fisher Lecture, Dr. Norton will discuss the topic, “The Scientific Method and Progress Against Breast Cancer: Continuing the Fisherian Revolution.” The lecture, which is open to the public, will take place at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1 in Auditorium 6 in Scaife Hall, 3550 Terrace St., on Pitt’s Oakland campus. A reception will follow in Scaife Hall, Room 1105.

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