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Advances in Cancer Panel Discussion Speakers

Theodore DeWeese, M.D. - moderator
Richard Jones, M.D.
Malcolm Brock, M.D.
Michael Choti, M.D., M.B.A.

Theodore DeWeese, M.D. - ModeratorDr. Theodore DeWeese

Professor of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Oncology, and Urology
Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences

Theodore L. DeWeese, M.D., is Professor of Radiation Oncology, Oncology and Urology and is the Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

Dr. DeWeese has studied and published on the development of unique, molecularly-based radiation sensitizing strategies.  Most recently, he and his colleagues were the first to develop and report on the use of shRNA as a potential radiation sensitizing approach.  They continue to incorporate new viral and non-viral vector systems to deliver siRNA’s and shRNA’s targeting mRNA encoding the DNA repair proteins such as ATM and DNA-PKcs which results in substantial radiation sensitization of human prostate cancer cells.

Dr. DeWeese is also quite interested in DNA damage introduced at a low dose rate and how such damage does not activate the DNA damage sensor ATM.  He has shown that failure to activate ATM-associated repair pathways contributes to the increased lethality of continuous LDR radiation exposures.  He has postulated that this inactivation may reflect one strategy by which cells avoid accumulating mutations as a result of error-prone DNA repair.  This work has a broad range of implications for carcinogenesis and for the clinical treatment of solid tumors.

He received his medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and came to Johns Hopkins as a resident in the division of radiation oncology in 1991.

Malcolm Brock, M.D.Dr. Malcolm Brock
Associate Professor of Surgery and Oncology
Director, Clinical and Translational Research in Thoracic Surgery

Malcolm Brock, M.D., a surgeon specializing in thoracic cancers, is studying new biomarkers to detect lung and esophageal cancers as well as predict their response to therapy.  An associate professor of surgery and oncology and member of Hopkins’ Kimmel Cancer Center, Brock is using cancer’s molecular code to reveal signatures of the disease not detected through a microscope.  In a process called methylation, DNA letters are tagged with small methyl groups that may interfere with protein production.  Abnormal levels of methylation are linked to many cancers and are found in DNA that leaks out from tumors and areas of cancer spread.  According to Brock, methylation patterns could predict the behavior of lung and esophageal cancers and flag those most likely to recur.  In surgery, it helps him determine if he has removed the entire tumor. Brock, who studied and trained at Hopkins, also is exploring the rising incidence of lung cancer in HIV patients and whether their tumors have unique profiles. 

Born in Bermuda, Brock is a Rhodes Scholar, recipient of several National Institutes of Health awards, and honored by the Thoracic Surgery Foundation for research excellence.

Michael Choti, M.D., M.B.A.Dr. Michael Choti
Professor of Surgery, Oncology, Radiology and Engineering
Vice Chair, Department of Surgery
The Jacob C. Handelsman Endowed Chair of Abdominal Surgery

An author or co-author of over 230 peer-reviewed original research articles, 40 review articles, and 50 book chapters, Dr. Michael Choti has a strong interest in molecular genetics and biomarkers in gastrointestinal cancer, as well as clinical research, conducting clinical trials and outcomes research in hepatobiliary, pancreatic, and gastrointestinal malignancies.  Another focus of his research involves the use of robotics and computer assistance to surgically treat cancer using minimally invasive image-guided approaches. This work has been funded through a series of NIH grants and industry collaborations.

He is on the editorial boards of Annals of Surgical Oncology, Gastrointestinal Cancer Research, and Journal of Clinical Oncology.  Dr. Choti has also served as a mentor for many trainees and investigators, including serving as the Director of the Johns Hopkins Surgical Oncology Fellowship.

Among his other activities, Michael Choti serves in various leadership positions in national and international societies. He currently serves on the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and is on the Colorectal Cancer and Neuroendocrine Tumor Panels for the National Cancer Coalition Network.

Michael A. Choti, M.D., M.B.A. is Jacob C. Handelsman Professor of Surgery and Oncology and Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is the Director of the Surgical Oncology Fellowship training program at Johns Hopkins. He is also the Chair of the NCI taskforce for hepatobiliary cancer.

He received his medical school degree at Yale University, general surgery training at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed the surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center before joining the division of Surgical Oncology at Johns Hopkins. In 2004, Dr. Choti received an MBA from Johns Hopkins University School of Professional Studies in Business and Education.


Richard Jones, M.D.Richard Jones, M.D.
Professor of Oncology, Medicine and Pathobiology
Director, Bone Marrow Transplant Program
Co-Director, Hematologic Malignancies Program

As director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Dr. Richard Jones oversees a Center that has been an internationally renowned for its research accomplishments, many of which are now standard of care, for more than 30 years. More than 5,000 bone marrow transplants have been performed at Johns Hopkins, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.  

The goal of Jones’s research is to understand the biology of normal and abnormal hematopoiesis (the formation and development of various types of blood cells), to improve the treatment of blood disorders. He has recently focused on the identification and biologic characterization of cancer stem cells. A stem cell, unlike other cells can copy itself and differentiate into one or more specialized cell types. For most cancers, it appears that only a small number of the cancer cells retain the capacity to self-renew and proliferate. These cancer stem cells give rise to the differentiated cells that form most of the tumor mass. In many tumors, cancer stem cells and their differentiated progeny appear to have considerably different biologic characteristics. Characterizing cancer stem cells has particular relevance for targeted anti-cancer therapies. According to Jones, current treatments target the more abundant differentiated cancer cells and may miss the resistant cancer cells, allowing the cancer to come back.

Jones received his medical degree in 1978 from Temple University School of Medicine, where he was also a resident in internal medicine. He was a clinical fellow in oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and joined the faculty in 1987.

They will be participating in a panel discussion on Advances in Cancer in Session IV: (3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.).