Internationally Renowned Cancer Prevention Expert Takes Leadership Position At Ohio State

September 07, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dr. Peter G. Shields, an internationally renowned physician-scientist and expert in cancer prevention, is the new deputy director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

Recently named the president of the American Society of Preventive Oncology, Shields is a leader in researching new biomarkers of cancer risk, molecular epidemiology and carcinogenesis. His primary focus is identifying biomarkers that can be used in the clinic to assess breast and lung cancer risk, particularly those related to diet, smoking and lifestyle. Shields has published more than 180 studies, with topics ranging from toxicology and epidemiology to behavior and health disparities.

“As deputy director for Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, Peter will continue to build on a great foundation of cancer research that earned us the National Cancer Institute’s highest rating – exceptional,” says Dr. Michael Caligiuri, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. “Specifically, Peter will oversee the scientific research programs and research infrastructure of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, which include more than 270 cancer researchers from 11 of Ohio State’s 14 colleges.

Further, he will be responsible for implementing our overall research strategy, which focuses on building university-wide collaborations and translating basic research discovery into new prevention and treatment strategies that benefit our cancer patients and the overall community. Peter is uniquely qualified and gifted to lead these efforts, and we are excited to have him join the Ohio State family.”

Shields is well-experienced in developing research programs, having received several large funded multi-investigator grants and contracts. He has developed education and research partnerships with minority serving institutions that specifically focus on cancer-related health disparities.

In Washington, Shields was extraordinarily active in the community. He was pivotal in establishing and sustaining a free medical clinic for uninsured Latinos, and separately, in establishing a breast cancer screening clinic for underserved women. Shields also was a member of the District of Columbia Board of Medicine and played important roles in legislative efforts such as making Washington, D.C., smoke-free and requiring insurance companies to cover patients in clinical trials.

“Cancer is extremely complex,” says Shields. “While we continue to make great strides in cancer treatment, the best cancer to have is none at all. We must shift the continuum from treatment of clinically detected cancers to the earliest lesions requiring minimal treatment, slowing their growth and preventing those from ever developing in the first place.

“This is a real challenge because cancer is not a single disease, and each cancer has its own complexities. Confounding the challenge further is human behavior and diversity, so each person needs his or her own tailored approach to prevention. That’s why identifying tests that a doctor can do in the office – and particularly markers that will show who will be most affected by carcinogen exposures – is so critical. The more markers we identify, the more aggressive screening and monitoring we can do for people with those markers, and we can also focus better our behavioral interventions and chemoprevention.”

This type of research, says Shields, happens only in a place that has researchers from a broad spectrum of disciplines all working together to eradicate cancer.

“Ohio State is such a place – the breadth and depth of the researchers as well as the infrastructure, are indeed exceptional. The growth of the place over the last 10 years has been phenomenal. It is a privilege to be part of this,” says Shields.

In addition to the deputy director role, Shields will also be a professor of medicine in Ohio State’s Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and Division of Medical Oncology. Prior to joining Ohio State, Shields was the deputy director of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University and a tenured professor in the departments of oncology and medicine.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute ( strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program’s 210-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a “Top Hospital” as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

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