Stories of progress, inspiration, and information in overcoming osteosarcoma.

OSI’s Strategic Advisory Board Member, Andrea Hayes Dixon, MD, Has Had Several “Firsts”

This groundbreaker and world-renowned pediatric surgical oncologist is determined to change osteosarcoma outcomes.

The Osteosarcoma Institute is always on the lookout for exceptional minds to join its mission of finding a cure for osteosarcoma.  Andrea Hayes Dixon, MD certainly fits that mold. A world-renowned pediatric surgical oncologist, Dr. Hayes Dixon has been practicing surgical oncology and studying sarcomas for more than 20 years. She was recently appointed the first female Dean of Howard University’s College of Medicine. She will also serve as associate director of the Cancer Center at Howard.

“I am extremely honored to serve in this role,” says Dr. Hayes Dixon. “Howard University is such a prominent and historical institution, and Howard University Hospital provides a unique service to Washington, D.C.”

“The current treatment for osteosarcoma is no different from that of 30 to 40 years ago and the outcomes have remained the same.” — Andrea Hayes Dixon, MD

A Passion for Discovery

Nationally recognized for her pioneering work in hyper-thermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy for children (HIPEC), Dr. Hayes Dixon has always had a passion for discovery and problem-solving and has spent her career specializing in sarcoma research. Her basic science laboratory focuses on rare sarcomas while maintaining clinical research efforts.

“Through my research in sarcomas, I have an affinity for figuring out new ways to treat diseases that we’re failing at treating at this point,” says Dr. Hayes Dixon. “Unfortunately, the current treatment for osteosarcoma is no different from that of 40 years ago and the outcomes have remained the same.”

Dr. Hayes Dixon has had several “firsts.” She was the first Black woman in the nation to become a board-certified pediatric surgeon. In 2006, Dr. Hayes Dixon became the first surgeon in the world to perform a high-risk life-saving procedure on teenagers with rare forms of abdominal cancer. And she was the first woman chair of the Department of Surgery at Howard.

A Leader in Progress

Already a valued member of the OSI’s Strategic Advisory Board, Dr. Hayes Dixon is also involved in the OSI’s Brokers of Progress (BOP) Committee, which is charged with the role of negotiating and coordinating connections between the scientists in academia—the ones doing the research—and the biopharmaceutical industry to help get drugs developed.

“Because of its multidisciplinary nature, the OSI is uniquely positioned to identify high-impact potential drugs to treat osteosarcoma,” she says. “My colleagues in the OSI have different areas of expertise connected to osteosarcoma that allow us all to bring a slightly different perspective.”

Equipped with oncology connections all over the world, Dr. Hayes Dixon is excited to use those connections to discover new and evolving research that could change the way we treat this disease.

“Everyone at the OSI and I have a huge passion for osteosarcoma and want to be able to end this disease,” says Dr. Hayes Dixon. “What I hope to do is bring the perspective of underrepresented minorities into the OSI—not just in a social sense but in a medical sense—so that we do not exclude them when we’re discovering new drugs and new products.”

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