In Memoriam: Eddie Reed, MD

December 17, 1953–May 28, 2014

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Eddie Reed, MD

Eddie Reed, MD, was a pioneer in the molecular pharmacology of DNA-damaging anticancer agents and the clinical development of paclitaxel for ovarian cancer. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine in 1979, completed his internship and residency at Stanford University in 1981, and was then accepted for a fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

From 1985 to 2001, he served in a variety of increasingly responsible roles at the NCI, culminating with his appointment as Chief of the Pharmacology Branch and Chief of the Ovarian Cancer and Metastatic Prostate Cancer Clinic in the Division of Clinical Science, becoming the first African American branch chief to serve at the Institute.

Much of his clinical investigation centered on DNA damage and repair in cancer cells. Dr. Reed was also a renowned authority on the use of the anticancer agents paclitaxel and cisplatin.

Along with clinical research, Dr. Reed was deeply involved in many public health cancer prevention, screening, and control programs. In 2005, Dr. Reed was recruited to serve as Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 2008, Dr. Reed joined the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute in Mobile, Alabama, where he served as Clinical Director while continuing his research that concentrated on molecular pharmacology and clinical development of novel platinum compounds, with a chief focus on ovarian cancer and metastatic prostate cancer.

Dr. Reed was an active member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). In addition to serving as a member of the AACR Board of Directors from 2008 to 2011, he was elected as Chair of the AACR Minorities in Cancer Research Council, serving a term from 2009 to 2010.

He also served on the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities and on the Institute of Medicine’s National Cancer Policy Forum. He twice received the U.S. Public Health Service Commendation Medal.

In honor of Dr. Reed’s dedication and advocacy for underserved cancer populations, his friends and colleagues established the Dr. Eddie Reed Fellowship Program in Global Oncology. It will bring cancer care trainees from Africa to Massachusetts General Hospital and its collaborators at Harvard University and other American academic centers. ■