Long before Andrew von Eschenbach served as Commissioner for the FDA, he was crucial to Mike Milken’s decades-long efforts to transform biomedical research and speed delivery of cures to the world. Both men had lost their fathers to cancer and together were determined to prevent other families from similar fates. In this episode, they speak candidly and passionately about the job ahead.
If he were back at his old job at FDA, von Eschenbach would favor a multi-pronged approach to deal with the current crisis: capitalize on big data sets and near-instantaneous transfers; translate successful cancer immunotherapies and apply them to viruses; accelerate testing of drugs that have already been FDA-approved; and foster greater international cooperation and global engagement. “We need to move beyond this wounding of ourselves and of our society to create a legacy,” he says, “to make sure that this does not happen again.”