Prostate Cancer Pioneer Nancy Dawson Joins Lombardi

Internationally-recognized genito-urinary cancer expert Nancy Dawson, MD, has joined the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center as director of clinical research and attending oncologist at the Prostate Cancer Research and Treatment Center. When she began treating prostate cancer patients in the early 1980s, Dawson was one of the first oncologists—as opposed to urologists—to specialize in the disease. At Georgetown, she will continue developing novel approaches to the treatment of prostate, bladder and kidney cancers. 

“I’m thrilled to be joining Lombardi,” said Dawson. “Georgetown is a highly respected academic institution with a world-class reputation.” 

Dawson will have administrative, research, and clinical responsibilities at Lombardi. She will direct clinical research and see cancer patients at Georgetown’s Prostate Cancer Research and Treatment Center, she will serve as the medical oncologist on the multidisciplinary team, as well as the director of clinical research. 

Dawson’s Army career sparked her specialization in prostate and other genitor-urinary cancers when she became aware of a growing problem. She and other physicians at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, who treated mostly male patients, noticed not only an increase in the incidence of prostate cancer, but also the lack of medical research in this area. 

As director of the CRMO, Dawson will be oversee more than 200 cancer clinical trials taking place at Lombardi and throughout the seven-hospital MedStar network. One of Dawson’s goals is to expand the number of trials available to MedStar oncology patients. She brings with her experience leading national and international clinical trials in both early and late stage cancer, and plans to continue her involvement in the development and testing of both new therapies and new ways of combining treatments to improve outcomes. 

“After spending the last eight years of my career in Baltimore, I have strong ties to the MedStar network in that city as well as those in Washington,” said Dawson. “I believe this will help us expand access to innovative clinical trials around the Washington-Baltimore area. I am hopeful that a premier clinical trials consortium for urologic malignancies can evolve through this network.” 

A 1979 graduate of the Georgetown University School of Medicine, and a military physician for 20 years, Dawson was recruited from the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, where she was a professor of medicine and director of the genito-urinary medical oncology program. 

Board-certified in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology, Dawson retired as a colonel in the United States Army in June 1999. She began as a teaching fellow in the Department of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in 1979 and held numerous positions at Walter Reed over the next 20 years, including Director of Clinical Research, Chief of Hematology-Oncology Service and Consultant to the Surgeon General of the Army. She has also served as a senior investigator position in the signal Transduction and Oncogenesis Section of the Medical Branch of the National Center Institute. 

Dawson has extensive research experience in the field of genito-urinary cancer. She served as principal investigator for many National Cancer Institute-Walter Reed collaborative studies, including assessment of chemohormonal therapy for metastatic prostate cancer and the use of suramin in advanced prostate cancer. Her research has been published extensively in journals such as Cancer, American Journal of Clinical Oncology, Journal of Urology, and Prostate Journal. 

“In addition to continuing my own research, I am looking forward to collaborating with many of Georgetown University Medical Center’s basic scientists,” said Dawson. “Translational research--bench to bedside—is the way we move ahead in our quest for the cure for cancer.” 

Dawson has also served as a reviewer, co-editor, and contributing editor for numerous publications, including the American Journal of Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. She has written and co-authored chapters for numerous textbooks and other publications.