AUSTIN – The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has appointed Michelle M. Le Beau, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer. Dr. Le Beau will lead the agency’s academic research program in supporting innovative cancer research and recruiting world-class cancer researchers to Texas institutions.
"With Dr. Le Beau’s addition, we will continue pressing the boundaries of the cancer research frontier," said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT’s chief executive officer. "She will integrate all three CPRIT programs—academic research, prevention, and product development research—to spark translation of scientific discovery into therapies to prevent, mitigate, and cure cancer."
Le Beau is currently the Arthur and Marian Edelstein Professor Emerita of Medicine and Director Emerita of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center, which she led for 17 years. Her distinguished research career has focused on basic and translational research. Le Beau is recognized for her work identifying recurring chromosomal abnormalities and defining the clinical and genetic subsets of leukemia, characterizing the genetic pathways that lead to hematological malignancies, and the application of fluorescence in situ hybridization for clinical diagnostics and gene mapping.
In addition, she studied therapy-related neoplasms (t-MN), an aggressive myeloid leukemia developing after therapy for a primary malignancy. Le Beau and her colleagues are credited with recognizing several distinct cytogenetic and clinical subtypes of t-MN that are closely associated with the nature of the preceding treatment and are now recognized by the World Health Organization classification.
"I am deeply honored and thrilled to be joining CPRIT to lead the academic research program of this unique and impactful agency," said Le Beau. "By leveraging the culture of innovation in Texas, CPRIT’s acclaimed national peer review model, its exceptional track record for recruiting top-tier scientists to Texas, and its ability to support translation of scientific advances in cancer research and prevention, there are limitless possibilities as to what we can accomplish together to benefit patients and their families."
Le Beau is the recipient of the 2020 Henry M. Stratton Medal from the American Society of Hematology. The medal, one of the cancer field’s top honors, recognizes investigators who have made well-recognized contributions to hematology research. She also received the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research’s Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research. This prestigious award recognizes a champion of cancer research whose leadership and achievements have had a major impact on the field.
Le Beau did her undergraduate studies at Purdue University and earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Illinois at the Medical Center.
Le Beau replaces James K.V. Willson, M.D., who has served as CPRIT’s chief scientific officer since 2016.
To date, CPRIT has awarded $2.9 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs. CPRIT has recruited 237 distinguished researchers, supported the establishment, expansion or relocation of 43 companies to Texas and generated over $5.7 billion in additional public and private investment. CPRIT funding has advanced scientific and clinical knowledge and provided 7.4 million life-saving cancer prevention and early detection services reaching Texans from all 254 counties. On November 5, 2019, Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to provide an additional $3 billion to CPRIT for a total $6 billion investment in cancer research and prevention.