Principal Investigator


Dr. Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP is Deputy Cancer Center Director for Translational Research and co-Program Leader in Developmental Therapeutics at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Phuldelphia, PA. Until September 2014 he was the Rose Dunlap Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Hematology/Oncology Division at the Penn State University Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, Interim Director, and Associate Director for Translational Research and Program Leader of Experimental Therapeutics at the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. Dr. El-Deiry is one of 40 active American Cancer Society Research Professors.

Dr. El-Deiry earned his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Miami and completed internal medicine residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and then completed oncology fellowship training at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center in Baltimore.

He discovered p21(WAF1) as a p53 target gene, universal cell cycle inhibitor and tumor suppressor gene that for the first time explained the mammalian cell stress response. This is the most highly cited original work published in the journal Cell over the last 20 years.

University of Pennsylvania
Dr. El-Deiry joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine as Assistant Professor of Medicine and Genetics in 1994, Associate Professor with tenure in 1999 and rose to full Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Genetics with tenure by 2005. He was an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1995-2004. He served as co-Program Leader of the Radiobiology & Imaging Program at the Abramson Cancer Center and as Associate Director for Physician-Scientist Training in Hematology/Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. He left for Penn State University in March, 2010.

He made several discoveries in the field of cell death and tumor suppressor genes including discovery of TRAIL death receptor DR5 as a target of the p53 tumor suppressor.

Publications and Memberships
Dr. El-Deiry has over 300 peer-reviewed publications and has edited five books. He has been active on journal editorial boards including as Associate Editor for the Journal of Clinical Investigation from 2007-2010 and as the Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Biology and Therapy from 2001 to the present.

Dr. El-Deiry is active in the NIH review system, lectures widely throughout the world and was named as a highly cited researcher by Thompson ISI in the field of molecular biology and genetics in 2005 and as one of America's Top Oncologists by the Consumer Research Council of America in 2008 and 2009.

He is a member of the Faculty of 1000 in Cell Growth and Division. He is a member of several national physician honor societies including the Interurban Clinical Club, the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians. He has organized several international meetings and has won several awards including the 2010 international Kuwait Prize in Applied Sciences for "Cancer Diseases." He is a practicing physician-scientist who specializes in colorectal cancer treatment.

Quest For Answers
"We're trying to understand how cancer cells die, how they're affected by chemotherapy or newer agents, why they become resistant to certain treatments and how to develop strategies to reverse the resistance," says Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, chief of hematology/oncology at Penn State Hershey Medical Center
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Kuwait Prize In Applied Sciences
Dr. El-Deiry was recognized for his work on tumor suppressor genes including p53 and TRAIL, and mechanisms that determine cancer therapeutic response. Dr. El-Deiry was recognized for developing new strategies targeting cell death for cancer therapy.
Read the full article from Cancer Biology & Therapy

Small Molecule Drug Drives Cancer Cells to Suicide
Cancer researchers have pinned down a molecule that can kick-start the body's own tumour-destroying systems, triggering cell death in cancerous but not healthy tissue in mice.
Read the full article from Nature News