Godwin to help lead cancer center's drug discovery efforts

A leading scientist in the field of personalized medicine and drug development has joined the KU Cancer Center.

Andrew K. Godwin will be the cancer center’s associate director of translational research, filling a key leadership position and moving the cancer center closer to its goal of attaining National Cancer Institute designation.

Andrew K. Godwin

Godwin arrived at the KU Cancer Center on Oct. 25 from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, where he was the director of the Clinical Molecular Genetics Laboratory, the co-leader of the Women’s Cancer Program and the initiator and director of one of the top biospecimen repositories in the country. His specialty is developing tests to determine whether a drug will work on a particular patient or tumor.

The KU Cancer Center already has unique expertise in the area of drug discovery. Godwin will make that aspect of the cancer center’s research even stronger.

“The wave of the future is drug discovery,” said Roy A. Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center. “Now that Dr. Godwin is here, we have one of the best people in the world to do that.”

For example, Jensen said, it’s now common practice for people who are diagnosed with colon cancer to take a test to determine whether a particular gene (known as the K-RAS gene) will respond to a specific drug. Godwin’s lab helped establish that test, Jensen said.

Godwin, who earned his bachelor’s in cellular biology from KU before going on to earn a doctorate in molecular biology from the University of Pennsylvania, says he is happy to be back in the area after 26 years on the East Coast.

“I am excited about the opportunities at the cancer center and am looking forward to working with its leaders to achieve our goal of establishing a comprehensive cancer center in the middle part of America,” Godwin said. “I felt it was time to give back to my home state and help provide a place for cancer patients in the area to come for the latest therapies so they can remain near family and friends.”

KU Cancer Center leaders are especially proud of the fact that their newest recruit is from Kansas.

“He grew up in Lawrence, graduated from KU, then spent 20-some years at Fox Chase, which is one of the premier cancer centers in the world,” Jensen said. “He’s a Kansas native who made good, and now he’s coming home.”

Godwin will also be a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and director of molecular oncology at the KU Medical Center and holds the Chancellors Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Sciences endowed professorship.

For more information about the KU Cancer Center, see cancer.kumc.edu/.


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Kevin Liu, associate director, Confucius Institute

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