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Cancer agency chief Ned Sharpless to become acting US FDA commissioner

Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, will be appointed acting commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early April.

Sharpless will temporarily replace outgoing commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who announced his resignation March 5.

"There will be no let-up in the agency's focus, from ongoing efforts on drug approvals and combating the opioid crisis to modernizing food safety and addressing the rapid rise in youth use of e-cigarettes," said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

In the meantime, a search for a permanent replacement is underway, according to HHS.

The National Cancer Institute's deputy director, Douglas Lowy, will serve as acting director of that agency in the interim.