David T. Curiel, MD, PhD
Professor of Radiation Oncology
- Director, Biologic Therapeutics Center
- BA, Chemistry: West Georgia College, Carrollton, GA (1978)
- MD: Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA (1982)
- Internship: Emory University, Atlanta, GA (1983)
- Residency, Medicine: Emory University, Atlanta, GA (1985)
- Fellowship, Pulmonary Medicine: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (1989)
- Fellowship, Biotechnology: Navy Medical Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD (1990)
- PhD, Virology: Groningen University, Groningen, The Netherlands (2002)
- Diplomat, American Board of Internal Medicine (1987)
- Certificate of Recognition: Research Affairs Committee, Washington University School of Medicine (2015)
- Director, Division of Cancer Biology: Department of Radiation Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine (2011-2016)
David T. Curiel, MD, PhD, is a tenured professor in the Cancer Biology Division of the Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Curiel graduated medical school at Emory University in 1982, where he also completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine. Dr. Curiel’s scientific training includes tenureship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland at the Pulmonary Branch of the Heart and Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) from 1985-1989, and a fellowship in Biotechnology at the National Cancer Institute, Navy Medical Oncology Branch from 1989-1990. He received his Ph.D. from University of Groningen in The Netherlands in 2002. Dr. Curiel has been at Washington University School of Medicine since 2011 and is the Director of the Biologic Therapeutics Center. His work is focused on gene transfer vectors to advance the human application of gene therapy, virotherapy, and vaccinology. His oncolytic virotherapy for glioblastoma is fast track for FDA approval. He is also the editor in chief for the Journal of Ovarian Research.
Dr. Curiel develops gene transfer vectors to advance the human application of gene therapy. To overcome the limited capacity of available viral vectors to deliver large genes, Dr. Curiel conceptualized an approach whereby heterologous DNA was carried on the exterior of the virus rather than configured within the parental virus genome. This design is a conceptual departure from all historical vector paradigms. This new system embodies elements of viral vectors and non-viral vector configured into a single particle. This design takes advantage of both classes of vector agents in a wide range of applied contexts, including a human clinical trial of cancer vaccination in Europe. This vector design was featured in a news item in the journal Science. In addition, this concept of derived “mosacic” vectors, now represents a legitimate sub-field within gene therapy. In addition, the “mosacic” design paradigms resulted in the Development of an Ad-AAV Chimera: Piggy Backing Vectors Through Camelids.
Dr. Curiel identified a deficiency at the primary adenoviral receptor “CAR” in human primary tumor not noted in immortalized human cell lines. The new universal recognition of “CAR deficiency” characterizing human epithelial carcinomas clearly constituted the basis of tumor cell resistance to Ad-mediated transduction, and thus failure of cancer gene therapy interventions. In addition, the spurious predictive value of immortalized human cell lines at (and their murine xenograft model derivations), suggested the need for more stringent models. Finally, the recognition of tumor cell CAR levels limiting Ad gene transfer efficacy suggested the need for Ads which embodied “CAR independent” gene transfer capacity. To this end, he endeavored a series of gene capsid modifications to alter Ad tropism to achieve CAR-independent infection of tumor cells. A number of modifications were defined that achieved this biologic goal with dramatic enhancements in Ad infectivity. These adenoviral vectors have now been applied in human clinical trials for cancer. He modified an adenovirus virotherapy agent that dramatically augmented its oncolytic potency. On this basis, the FDA has approved his application for Fast Track status for malignant gliomas.
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