Andrew von Eschenbach was born on October 30, 1941 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He did his schooling from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School. He received his bachelor of science in biology from St. Joseph’s University in 1963 and his MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1967. He did residencies at Pennsylvania Hospital in general surgery and urology and taught urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He served in the US Navy Medical Corps with the rank of lieutenant commander from 1968 to 1971. Dr. von Eschenbach is a nationally recognized urologic surgeon and oncologist.
In 1976, von Eschenbach began his long association with The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, beginning as a urologic oncology fellow and becoming chair of the department of urology in 1983. He was founding director of the Prostate Cancer Research Program, director of the Genitourinary Cancer Center, and held the Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Clinical Research Distinguished Chair in Urologic Oncology. Driven by his father’s prostate cancer, he specialized in the disease. Von Eschenbach was elected as president of the American Cancer Society when he was selected by President George W. Bush to head the NCI in December 2001. In 2003 as director of the NCI he announced that his organization’s goal was to “eliminate suffering and death” caused by cancer by the year 2015. However, under von Eschenbach’s leadership the FDA has been criticized for being too risk averse when considering life saving treatments for desperate, dying patients. He was also criticized for overruling his staff recommendations, and approving the Menaflex knee implant, made by ReGen Biologics Inc., New Jersey, on a fast-track basis, after four New Jersey congressmen lobbied on ReGen’s behalf.
He was the Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration from 2006–2009. He became acting Commissioner on September 26, 2005, after the resignation of his predecessor Lester Crawford, and was confirmed as Commissioner by the Senate on December 7, 2006. He was previously the 12th director of the National Cancer Institute. He has received numerous professional awards and honors. In 2006, Time named him as one of the Time 100 “People Who Shape Our World”, writing that as head of the FDA, which “wields enormous influence on American lives”, von Eschenbach “could make a signal contribution to the public’s health” by focusing on issues of diet and obesity in addition to drugs and disease.
Prior to being appointed to lead the NCI in January 2002, Dr. von Eschenbach served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Urologic Oncology, Executive Vice President, Chief Academic Officer, Consulting Professor of Cell Biology, and Director of the Laser Biology Program of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, leading a faculty of more than 1,000 cancer researchers and clinicians. He also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and held the Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Clinical Research Distinguished Chair in Urologic Oncology. Dr. von Eschenbach entered government service after an outstanding career over three decades as a physician, surgeon and oncologist. Andrew von Eschenbach was instrumental in the development and growth of the Prostate Cancer Foundation (founded by Michael Milken) since its inception in 1993 and held a board membership position and scientific advisor role at the foundation. C-Change, a forum that brings together the principal leaders of key national cancer organizations, and founded by Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, is in partnership with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In addition, he has made significant contributions to the scientific literature more than 200 articles, books, and book chapters. Dr. von Eschenbach has served in numerous leadership roles, including serving as one of the founding members of the National Dialogue on Cancer.
Dr. Andrew C. Von Eschenbach, M.D serves as Consultant of Greenleaf Health LLC. He also serves as Senior Director for Strategic Initiatives at the Center for Health Transformation. He was an accomplished urologist and healthcare administrator. He has a distinguished three-decade-long career as a physician, surgeon, oncologist, cancer researcher, medical educator, hospital executive and public servant. Dr. von Eschenbach serves as a Member of the International Advisory Council at Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. He has been a Director of Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation since August 2010. He has been a Director of Viamet Pharmaceuticals, Inc. since January 19, 2011.
He has been married to his childhood sweetheart, Madelyn, and they are proud parents of four children and elated grandparents of six.