National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
September 4, 2012 • Volume 9 / Number 17

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In Memoriam: International Cancer Researcher Gregory T. O'Conor

Dr. Gregory T. O’Conor
Dr. Gregory T. O’Conor

Dr. Gregory T. O’Conor, former director of what was NCI’s Division of Cancer Cause and Prevention and associate director of International Affairs, died in Natick, MA, on August 22. Dr. O’Conor was responsible for implementing many of the mandates in the National Cancer Act of 1972 to develop international research programs.

Following completion of his graduate training, Dr. O’Conor served as a staff pathologist at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, CT, from 1954 to 1958.

In May of 1958, Dr. O’Conor moved with his wife and six young children to Nyakibale mission station, in a remote area of southwestern Uganda, and began volunteering his services as a physician. After several months, he accepted a faculty position at Makerere Medical College in Kampala. He joined Dr. Denis Burkitt in studying what is now known as Burkitt lymphoma. Their seminal work became the springboard for research on this disease.

In 1960, he returned to the United States and began a 25-year career in cancer research and clinical medicine at NCI. As associate director of International Affairs, he emphasized international participation, collaboration, and communication in the fields of health care and research.

He also completed several international assignments, including positions with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. Dr. O’Conor designed and implemented the International Cancer Research Databank and played a major role in developing international standards for classifying lymphomas.

Cyber-Seminar: Bridging Cancer Research and Clinical Practice

The September 11 NCI Research to Reality (R2R) cyber-seminar will address the gap between cancer research and practice, as well as the need to integrate practice-based evidence into research. Participants will explore the need for, and the advances in, the field of practice-based evidence.

Research to Reality banner

Dr. Michael Potter will provide an overview of the FLU-FOBT and FLU-FIT colorectal cancer screening programs, which use approaches that are grounded in evidence. FLU-FIT and FLU-FOBT programs increase access to colorectal cancer screening by offering home tests to patients when they come in for their annual flu shots. Dr. Potter will describe how the programs were developed and how practitioners in other settings might implement them in their own communities.

Dr. Larry Green will explore the need to use practice-based evidence in research to help advance public health research and practice to improve the health of our communities.

For more information and to register for this event, visit the R2R website, where you can watch presentations and join discussions. All R2R cyber-seminars are archived on the website about 1 week after the presentation. For more information on the cyber-seminar series, please e-mail

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