WASHINGTON — Ned Sharpless has been in cancer research for decades, most recently as the director of the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Cancer Center. But when he took the helm of the National Cancer Institute in October, he realized it would take time to get to know the $5.5 billion federal agency. So he embarked on a listening tour that ended up lasting six months, talking to investigators, patients, research advocates, and agency administrators.

Seven months into his tenure at NCI, Sharpless sat down with STAT on Wednesday to talk about his new role, using artificial intelligence in cancer care, and how the NIH’s “All of Us” precision medicine project could play into the NCI’s big data aspirations.

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