News Release

National Foundation for Cancer Research appoints brain cancer charity CEO, renowned cancer researcher and dermatology professor as newest board members

Business Announcement

National Foundation for Cancer Research

ROCKVILLE, MD – The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) has announced three new experts in their fields will be joining the board of directors. The new appointments consist of Lance Kawaguchi, CEO of Australian charity the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, Brian Leyland-Jones, MBBS, Ph.D., a renowned breast cancer research-oncologist, and Karen Burke, M.D., Ph.D., a dermatologist and research scientist. These appointments will bring new and unique perspectives to the leadership of NFCR, creating novel collaborations and partnerships to the benefit of the global cancer community.


NFCR was founded in 1973 to support cancer research and public education relating to the prevention, early diagnosis, better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for cancer. The organization is committed to fighting cancer by funding high-risk, high-impact and potentially high-reward discoveries in laboratories and transforming them into life-saving treatments for cancer patients. Through global collaboration, NFCR is making unique impact on a new and accelerated path to cancer cures.


Welcoming these three highly established individuals to the board of directors reflects this commitment and will strengthen NFCR’s efforts to achieve its vision of a world without cancer. In 2019, the organization also established the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund, to accelerate the translation of cancer drug discoveries by funding start-up oncology companies that commercialize innovative laboratory breakthroughs which can potentially save cancer patients’ lives.


“We are honoured that three highly knowledgeable and esteemed individuals, in their respective fields, have agreed to join the NFCR board,” says NFCR President and Chief Executive Officer Sujuan Ba, Ph.D. “They bring great perspectives and expertise to help guide our transformation in the new era of innovative cancer research and breakthrough new therapies, and aid in our effort to improve outcomes for those affected by cancer around the world.”


An internationally recognised leader and CEO of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, Mr. Kawaguchi said, “NFCR has been around for 50 years and invested almost $400 million in funding for cancer research and education. Their support for early-stage biotechs and establishment of the visionary AIM-HI Accelerator Fund demonstrates NFCR’s absolute commitment to accelerate new cancer treatments as quickly as possible—a commitment I am wholeheartedly aligned with.”


Mr. Kawaguchi is an executive leader and board member, with over 25 years of global finance and banking experience, including living and working throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. He is committed to serving the brain cancer community, rapidly driving outcomes and taking measures to ensure more treatment options for patients, a better quality of life and, ultimately, a cure for this disease. His demonstrated passion for the biotech sector will bolster NFCR’s commitment to accelerate the translation of cancer drug discoveries through the AIM-HI Accelerator Fund.


Dr. Leyland-Jones, best known for leading major changes in breast cancer clinical trials and treatments, as well as his ongoing focus on how genomics plays a vital role in the fight against breast cancer, shared, “I am honoured to be appointed to such a prestigious organisation’s board. Without organisations like NFCR putting the money in to champion the highly novel, highly risk-taking ideas of today’s scientists, the progress in cancer would be so much slower.”


Dr. Leyland-Jones has served as an instrumental leader of three cancer centers and held positions as Founding Chair of Oncology and Director of the McGill University Comprehensive Cancer Centre; Director of the Winship Cancer Centre and Associate Vice-President of Health Sciences at Emory University; and Vice President of the Molecular and Experimental Medicine Genomics Medicine Program at the Avera Cancer Institute. Additionally, he founded three companies: AKESOgen, Xanthus Pharmaceuticals and Viviphi.


Dr. Burke, is an Honorary Life Governor of the New York Academy of Sciences, serves on the boards of directors of the New York Stem Cell Foundation and the Parkinson’s Foundation, and is a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Surgery Device Advisory Panel. She expressed, “It is an honour to join this board, and I am thrilled to do so alongside two remarkable leaders in their fields. Through the innovative research made possible by NFCR, I am certain that our shared hope and vision for cancer treatment and cure will indeed become a reality in the near future.”


Dr. Burke is also Clinical Professor and Research Scientist in the Department of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, with a private practice in dermatology. Her past research has focused primarily on topical and oral antioxidants to prevent and reverse photoaging and to prevent skin cancer. Dr. Burke’s current research relates to new cellular immunotherapies, collaborating in a clinical Phase I study first to treat stage IV melanoma, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer, before including multiple other types of cancer.


NFCR’s Chair of the Board, Judith Barnhard, said, “We are thrilled to announce that Mr. Kawaguchi, Dr. Leyland-Jones and Dr. Burke will be adding to the collective expertise of the board. These appointments demonstrate the importance of collaborating globally, creating strong partnerships and looking to the future of cancer research. Together, we will make a real difference in the world.”


About the National Foundation for Cancer Research

The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) nonprofit organization that provides scientists in the lab the funding they need to make game-changing discoveries in cancer treatments, detection, prevention and, ultimately, a cure. NFCR has distinguished itself in the cancer research sector by emphasizing long-term, transformative research often overlooked by other major funding sources. With the help of more than 5.3 million individual donors over the last 49 years, NFCR has delivered more than $390 million in funding to public education and cancer research leading to several important, life-saving discoveries. For more information, visit


About the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation

The Cure Brain Cancer Foundation is an Australian-based organisation, who is working globally to rapidly improve brain cancer survival. The Foundation’s mission is to unite the community and rapidly increase brain cancer survival, improving quality of life for people impacted by the disease, with a vision to ultimately find a cure for brain cancer. We’ll achieve this by empowering people living with brain cancer to have a strong influential voice, while raising awareness and funding for innovative research to accelerate quality treatments to patients. For more information, visit

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