Dean F. Bajorin, M.D. – Chairman

Dean F. Bajorin, M.D., is a Member of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He is an Attending Physician in the Genitourinary Oncology Service in the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology where he oversees the clinical research program in advanced urothelial cancer. He is a member of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B Genitourinary Core Committee in which he serves as cadre-leader supervising development and conduct of all bladder cancer trials for the cooperative group. He has twice served as chair of the Genitourinary Scientific Committee for the American Society of Clinical Oncology and has authored or co-authored over 150 manuscripts. Dr Bajorin has been the Program Director of the Medical Oncology/Hematology Fellowship Program since 1994, is past Chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Training Programs Committee, and is nationally recognized for postgraduate training of clinical investigators in Medical Oncology. Since 1999, Dr Bajorin has been the Principal Investigator of his Center’s research training curriculum for physicians performing research involving volunteer human subjects. He is a member of numerous national organizations including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Federation for Medical Research and the American Association of Cancer Research. Dr. Bajorin received his B.A. from the Collge of Holy Cross and his M.D. from NY Medical College.

Dennis Carson, M.D., PhD

Dr. Carson is an internationally recognized immunologist and cancer biologist who is Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Diego and formerly Director of the UCSD Cancer Center. Trained as a rheumatologist, he made a major contribution to cancer care when he developed 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine (2-CdA or Leustatin) as a cure for hairy cell leukemia. The author of nearly 450 papers, Dr. Carson is also a vaccinologist who originated the concept of “DNA vaccination” using intramuscular injections of DNA encoding vaccine proteins. He is also the co-discoverer of the role of CpG DNA (a TLR9 agonist) as a vaccine adjuvant and immunomodulatory agent. Most recently, he has been developing novel forms of TLR7 agonists for use in vaccines. He has founded six companies: Vical, Inc. (DNA vaccines); Dynavax Technologies (CpG TLR9 therapeutics); Triangle Pharmaceuticals (antivirals, now part of Gilead); Salmedix (cancer therapeutics, now part of Cephalon); Wintherix (WNT pathway cancer therapeutics); and TeLoRmedix (TLR therapeutics). He was elected to Membership in both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Medicine. Dr. Carson received his Bachelor’s degree from Haverford, his M.D. from Columbia, and had postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute. Prior to coming to UCSD, he was head of the immunology division at The Scripps Research Institute.

Daniel Theodorescu, M.D., PhD

Dr. Theodorescu has emerged as a leading translational cancer researcher focusing on bladder cancer. His pioneering application of computational biology led to the discovery of genes that regulate metastasis (RhoGDI2) in bladder and other cancers, and provided novel biomarkers and concepts for precision therapeutic approaches such as the COXEN principle, that are currently being tested in national (SWOG) clinical trials. He has also conceptualized the approach and then led the discovery and development of a “first in class” RalGTPase inhibitor as a new therapeutic in several human cancer types. Trained as a urologist and then as a urologic oncologistat the University of Toronto and MSKCC. As Director of the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center, he has led the center to successfully be elected into the National Comprehensive Cancer (NCCN) and Oncology Research Information Exchange (ORIEN) Networks and rise in US News and World Report rankings. His laboratory is currently funded by the NIH-NCI and he is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons (AAGUS), the American Surgical Association (ASA) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

Gary D. Steinberg, M.D.

Gary Steinberg, MD, specializes in urologic oncology. He has been instrumental in developing innovative surgical procedures for patients with bladder and kidney cancers. In addition, Dr. Steinberg’s research includes developing newer treatments for urologic cancers, especially bladder and kidney cancer. He is a national leader in continent urinary tract reconstruction and was the principal investigator for a regenerative medicine project using a patient’s own stem cells to create urinary tract reconstructions without using the intestine.  He is involved in a large number of clinical trials for patients with non-muscle invasive and invasive bladder cancer and kidney cancer as well as studies identifying newer molecular markers for the detection of bladder cancer. He has been instrumental in multiple studies utilizing multiple agents in trial design, protocol development, study completion and analysis for patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. He is the principal investigator for an integrated phase II/III study of the safety and efficacy of CG0070 oncolytic vector regimen in patients with non-muscle invasive bladder carcinoma who have failed BCG therapy (ColdGenesys Inc.), and a phase I/IIa study to evaluate the immune response and clinical activity of HS-410 in patients with high-risk NMIBC (Heat Biologics). In addition, He is also involved with additional innovative intravesical drug delivery systems and other immunotherapy translational research studies. He has created a bladder cancer tissue bio-bank and has been a key participant in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project for muscle invasive bladder cancer. He have been actively investigating genomic factors involved in therapeutic response. Finally, he has collaborated with University of Chicago investigators to create nude mouse human bladder cancer xenografts. Dr. Steinberg is also the chairperson of the scientific advisory board of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network and the executive committee of the Bladder Cancer Research Network.

Charles G. Drake, M.D., PhD

Dr. Charles G. Drake is director of genitourinary oncology and associate director for clinical research at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). A nationally recognized expert in immunotherapy, Professor Drake will also serve as co-director of Columbia’s Cancer Immunotherapy Programs and on the faculty of CUMC. Dr. Drake served as the co-director of the Cancer Immunology Program at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. He is also a professor of oncology, urology, and immunology. As co-director of the Prostate Cancer Multi-Disciplinary Clinic, he developed a novel transgenic model of prostate cancer, in which a unique antigen is expressed exclusively in the prostate gland and in prostate tumors. Earlier in his Hopkins career, he was an associate professor in the Department of Oncology and an assistant professor of medical oncology at the institution’s Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Drake was active in teaching, leading a small group in the medical school immunology course for many years. His research has been published in prestigious journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer Research, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Drake received both his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and his master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University. He completed a Ph.D. program at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and later earned his M.D. from the University of Colorado as part of the MSTP program. He did his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Osler Medical Service of Johns Hopkins Hospital, and did his medical oncology fellowship training in the Johns Hopkins Department of Oncology.

Shahrokh Shariat, M.D.

Dr. Shariat is currently professor and chairman of the department of urology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna General Hospital, Vienna, Austria.  He is also adjunct professor of urology and medical oncology at Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY, adjunct professor of urology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA, and guest professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, CZ.  He has published more than 900 peer-reviewed research papers (Scopus h-index 76, 23,553 citations; stand 12/2016), >200 non-peer-reviewed papers, and 18 book chapters.  He is the holder of four patents stemming from his research into prostate and bladder cancer, and is the recipient of various national and international rewards. He is currently spearheading several collaborative multicenter groups (Bladder Cancer Research Consortium, The Bladder Cancer Detection Group, and The Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma Collaboration) and prospective clinical trials. He is a member of various academic societies and a journal, meeting abstract, and grant reviewer for numerous national and international organizations.  He is an editorial board member of various journals including European Urology, BJU International, World Journal of Urology, Current Opinion in Urology (editor in chief), and Immunotherapy among others. His research focuses on urologic oncology – molecular mechanisms, markers, early detection, natural history, treatment, translational and outcomes research.  Specially, Dr. Shariat’s has been working on the discovery, testing, and validation of molecular markers associated with the biological and clinical behavior of prostate and urothelial cancers. His laboratory research focuses on integrative genomics and epigenomics of urothelial carcinoma with the goal of designing personalized therapeutic strategies.

Seth Lerner, M.D.

Seth P. Lerner, MD, is Professor of Urology and holds the Beth and Dave Swalm Chair in Urologic Oncology, in the Scott Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine.  He is Director of Urologic Oncology and the Multidisciplinary Bladder Cancer Program and Faculty Group Practice Medical Director for the Urology Clinic. He earned his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, completed a surgical internship at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, and returned to Baylor for his residency training. He completed a two-year fellowship at the University of Southern California in urologic oncology and reconstructive surgery under Peter Jones and Don Skinner before returning to join the full-time Baylor faculty in 1992. His clinical practice, education, and research activities are devoted to urologic oncology and particularly lower and upper tract urothelial cancer. Dr. Lerner is author of more than 180 peer-reviewed articles, and co-editor of a comprehensive Textbook of Bladder Cancer. He established and directs the multi-disciplinary Bladder Cancer Research Program at Baylor and his research interests include use of selective estrogen receptor modulators for treatment of bladder cancer, gene therapy, targeted molecular therapeutics, and outcomes of radical cystectomy and pelvic lymphadenectomy. He has 25 years experience as a clinical investigator for both NCI and industry funded clinical trials. He is the PI of the ongoing SWOG NCI Phase III trial comparing extended vs. standard pelvic lymphadenectomy at time of radical cystectomy. He is active in the leadership of several national bladder cancer research enterprises including chair of the Local Bladder Cancer committee of SWOG, founding and former co-chair of the NCI Bladder Cancer Task Force and current co-chair of the NCI CTEP Genitourinary Steering Committee, and he has co-chaired the Analysis Working Group of The Cancer Genome Atlas Project for muscle invasive bladder cancer for the past 7 years. He is very active in the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) as a member of the Board of Directors, past chair of the Bladder Cancer Think Tank and co-chair of the management committee of the Bladder Cancer Research Network. Dr. Lerner is an active member of the prestigious American Association of Genitourinary Surgeons and is listed routinely among “America’s Top Doctors” and “Best Doctors in America.