My career objective has been to improve outcome for brain tumor patients. Initially (July 1995-Dec 1998), I ran a laboratory at St. Jude Childrenâ€™s Research Hospital dedicated to identifying genetic abnormalities in pediatric brain tumors and conducted clinical research. Thereafter I joined the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center (PRTBTC) at Duke University (Oct 2000-July 2011) as an adult neuro-oncologist where I led daily clinical/translational research operations as Associate Deputy Director. We saw 800 brain tumor referrals and conducted 10-15 clinical trials annually. I also led the in vivo preclinical testing program which included 100 established CNS tumor cell lines and 50-60 patient-derived primary tumor xenografts. Each year we evaluated 50-75 investigational compounds for anti-tumor activity in flank and orthotopic, intracranial human brain tumor models. Via this effort, we successfully transitioned several preclinical compounds into clinical trials for brain tumor patients. I co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, was awarded an R21 NIH grant, and served as principal investigator of clinical core sections of an awarded brain SPORE grant and two program project grants. I also conducted several noteworthy, multi-center phase I-II clinical trials for neuro-oncology patients, two of which led to pivotal phase III studies evaluating cilengitide, as well as imatinib plus hydroxyurea, respectively, for glioblastoma. I also taught 1-3 neuro-oncology fellows per year who were supported through a NCI T-32 award. My clinical and research efforts at Duke were recognized by receipt of the R. K Rundles Award for Excellence in Clinical Oncology Research in 2007.
I came to the Center for Neuro-Oncology at DFCI (July 2011) because the research opportunity offered unmatched potential for neuro-oncology. I joined an outstanding team led by long-term friend and collaborator, Patrick Wen that has fostered several exciting endeavors. First, I am leading preclinical studies evaluating immune based therapies using an orthotopic, immunocompetent glioblastoma model, in collaboration with outstanding colleagues from the DFCI cancer immunology group including Gordon Freeman and Glenn Dranoff. Results of this work have supported development of several clinical trials which are anticipated to initiate soon. In addition, this work led to the award of a $1.5 million dollar grant ($500,000 per year for 3 years) from the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation to expand preclinical and clinical efforts. I have also been awarded funding from pharmaceutical companies for preclinical studies evaluating pipeline agents in glioblastoma animal models. Second, I have helped significantly expand the clinical research portfolio of our Center. I currently serve as principal investigator for 6 clinical trials that I opened in the past year. My additional accomplishments since coming to DFCI include: 1) publishing 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts; 2) conducting a neuro-oncology CME program for community neuro-oncologists that has become an annual endeavor; 3) leading separate institutional workshops on cutting edge therapies for meningioma patients and immunotherapy for glioblastoma; 4) providing 57 presentations (18 local, 18 national and 21 international); and and training 1-2 neuro-oncology fellows annually. Finally, in November 2013, I was elected President of the Society for Neuro-Oncology, the major society in the field.