Renowned oncologist and cancer researcher joins Penn State Hershey

March 03, 2010

Wafik S. El-Deiry has joined Penn State Hershey Medical Center as professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, and as the Rose Dunlap Division Chair in Hematology/Oncology and associate director for translational research at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute.

Prior to joining Penn State, El-Deiry was a professor of medicine (hematology/oncology), genetics and pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, co-director of the Radiobiology and Imaging Program at the Abramson Cancer Center and Associate Director for physician-scientist training in hematology/oncology.

El-Deiry is a highly cited author in the field of molecular biology and genetics and is considered an international leader in research focused on identifying the intricate processes by which different cancer cell types grow or die so new drug treatments can better target those specific processes.

“Dr. El-Deiry is a distinguished physician-scientist who has made significant contributions to cancer research,” said Thomas P. Loughran, Jr., M.D., director, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. “His recruitment to our Cancer Institute enhances patient care in the area of solid oncology services focusing on gastrointestinal cancers, but also augments the leadership team as it seeks National Cancer Institute center designation this year.”

El-Deiry’s clinical focus is in the area of solid tumor oncology, and he was cited as one of “America's Top Oncologists” by the Consumers’ Research Council of America in 2008 and 2009. He was named as an American Cancer Society Research Professor in 2008. This is a unique and highly prestigious honor actively held by approximately 40 physicians and scientists at any one time.

With his colleagues, El-Deiry has been investigating ways of imaging and targeting human cancer stem cells and has become interested in the potential of circulating tumor cells in diagnosis and therapy of human cancer. He has been continuously supported by external funding and is moving 5 major grants and a lab of 15 people to Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

El-Deiry earned his doctor of medicine and his doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1987 and completed medical residency and oncology fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center from 1987-1994. He joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant professor of medicine in 1994 and as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator from 1995-2004. He was promoted to professor with tenure in 2005.

Outside his primary clinical and research responsibilities, El-Deiry also devotes time to teaching, serving on peer review panels, scientific editorial boards (including as Founding Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Biology and Therapy since 2001) and training future scientists and clinicians. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the Interurban Clinical Club, an honor society for physicians started by Sir William Osler in 1905 for which he currently serves as secretary/treasurer. El-Deiry became a member of the Association of American Physicians in 2008. He is a founder and chief scientific adviser of Oncoceutics Inc., a biotech company developing new drugs targeting restoration of the p53 pathway in cancer.

El-Deiry has published nearly 300 peer-reviewed original manuscripts and review chapters and nearly 200 abstracts and has edited four books. He is frequently invited to speak at national and international meetings and has organized several international conferences in the area of cancer.

In his new role at Penn State, El-Deiry plans to promote translational research efforts at the cancer institute by bringing basic scientists and clinicians together into collaborative research projects, and by making efforts to bring scientific knowledge and discoveries into clinical trials.

“Dr. El-Deiry’s efforts will complement the ongoing and future clinical research efforts at the Cancer Institute, and I look forward to his arrival,” said Chandra Belani deputy director of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute.

Within the Division of Hematology/Oncology, El-Deiry plans to work with his colleagues during a period of growth over the next several years in several strategic areas including benign hematology, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and genitourinary malignancies, among others.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015