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Meet the Ghanaian Researcher Working With President Obama To Help Find Cures for Cancer

September 05, 2016 at 10:19 am | Uncategorized

Mark Babatunde

Mark Babatunde

September 05, 2016 at 10:19 am | Uncategorized

Dr. Francis Ali-Osman. (Shawn Rocco/Duke Health)

Dr. Francis Ali-Osman, a Ghanaian-born and U.S.-based professor of Surgery and Pathology, holds a chair as a distinguished professor of Neuro-Oncology Research at Duke University School of Medicine and is a specialist in the treatment of brain tumors.

In June 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Ali-Osman to a key administration post, naming him a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board. Announcing Dr. Ali-Osman’s appointment along with several others, President Obama said:

“I am confident that these experienced and hardworking individuals will help us tackle the important challenges facing America, and I am grateful for their service. I look forward to working with them.”

The National Cancer Advisory Board in the United States provides objective and expert advice on the National Cancer Program, and Dr. Ali-Osman’s role on the board will see him offer scientific-based advice and counsel to President Obama and the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Ali-Osman is a globally recognized professor of Neuro-Oncology who throughout his more than 25-year career has made several groundbreaking contributions to the field of cancer research. He is a graduate of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, and Laboratory Medicine from the Free University of Berlin, Germany, where he earned his M.Sc. and D.Sc. He later completed a fellowship program in Neuro-Oncology at the Brain Tumour Research Center at the School of Medicine of the University of California, San Francisco.

His career path has seen him work with various research institutions, including as an associate director of Translational Research at the Duke University Cancer Center. Dr. Ali-Osman also worked at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he was the associate professor and chairman of the department of Experimental Pediatrics.

While Dr. Ali-Osman may have reached the pinnacle of his professional career in the United States, he is still committed to his motherland. In August, Dr. Ali-Osman visited his beloved Ghana. He is a proud alumnus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where he received an undergraduate degree in Pharmacy. He was also a scholar at the Navrongo Senior High School in the Upper East Region.

During his visit to Ghana, Dr. Ali-Osman promised to work with the Ghanaian medical establishment to develop new ways to treat cancer. In an interview with Graphic Communications Group Limited, Dr Ali-Osman said he was working with local researchers at the Neurosurgery Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

He also promised to bring his wealth of experience to bear in developing cancer treatment that is specifically tailor made for the Black race. Dr. Ali-Osman explains, “Although the disease is the same, it differs in race by the genes, but most of the medicines are for the White race, and so we have to start studying our race, which is the Black race, of the disease to get effective treatment.”

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