Dr. Gewirtz received his PhD degree from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York. He has been at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and as a member of the Massey Cancer Center for his entire career. His work has been in the areas of cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy, originally in breast cancer, but more recently extending to lung cancer, prostate cancer and head and neck cancer. His interests have long been in the nature of alternative tumor responses to therapy, most prominently autophagy and senescence. He has long argued that senescence is not an irreversible form of growth arrest, that senescence could represent one form of tumor dormancy and furthermore that recovery from senescence could contribute to disease recurrence. His most recent publication describes the impact of the senolytic agent, ABT-263 (navitoclax) on breast and lung tumor cells induced into senescence by cancer chemotherapy and radiation.
Paul B. Fisher, MPh, PhD, FNAI, Professor and Chairman, Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Director, VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine Thelma Newmeyer Corman Chair in Cancer Research in the VCU Massey Cancer Center, VCU, School of Medicine, Richmond, VA, and Emeritus Professor, Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY. Dr. Fisher is among the top 10% of NIH funded investigators over the past 35-years, published approximately 625 papers and reviews, and has 55 issued patents. He pioneered novel gene/discovery approaches (subtraction hybridization), developed innovative therapeutic approaches (Cancer Terminator Viruses), presented numerous named and distinguished lectures, founded several start-up companies, was Virginia Outstanding Scientist of 2014 and elected to the National Academy of Inventors in 2018. Dr. Fisher is a prominent nationally and internationally recognized cancer research scientist focusing on understanding the molecular and biochemical basis of cancer development and progression to metastasis and using this garnered information to develop innovative approaches for diagnosing and treating cancer. He discovered and patented novel genes and gene promoters relevant to cancer growth control, differentiation and apoptosis. His discoveries include the first cloning of p21 (CDK inhibitor), human polynucleotide phosphorylase, mda-9/syntenin (a pro-metastatic gene), mda-5 and mda-7/IL-24, which has shown promising clinical activity in Phase I/II clinical trials in patients with advanced cancers. Dr. Fisher alsohas a documented track record as a successful seasoned entrepreneur. He was Founder and Director of GenQuest Incorporated, a functional genomics company, which merged with Corixa Corporation in 1998, traded on NASDAQ and was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2006. He discovered the cancer-specific PEG-Prom, which is the core technology of Cancer Targeting Systems (CTS, Inc.), a Virginia/Maryland-based company (at Johns Hopkins Medical Center) focusing on imaging and therapy ("theranostics ) of metastatic cancer (2014) by Drs. Fisher and Martin G. Pomper. He co-founded InVaMet Therapeutics (IVMT) and InterLeukin Combinatorial Therapies (ILCT) with Dr. Webster K. Cavenee (UCSD) (2017/2018).