Press and Public Relations

Joint International Journal of Cancer and Klaus Tschira Stiftung Lecture at DKFZ

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - Prof. Dr. Isaiah Fidler

After serving as an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Fidler was named head of the Biology of Metastasis Section at the National Cancer Institute's Frederick Cancer Research Facility in Maryland in 1975.  Four years later, he was appointed Director of the Cancer Metastasis and Treatment Laboratory.  In 1983, Dr. Fidler joined the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology and Director of the Program of Interferon Research; and in 1998, he was named Director of the Cancer Metastasis Research Center.  In June, 2008, Dr. Fidler retired as Department Chair but continued as Director of the Cancer Metastasis Research Center until November, 2010. Since then, he has served as Director of the Metastasis Research Laboratory.

Research in his laboratory continues to focus on the biology and therapy of cancer metastasis. Most recently, they have focused on the development and progression of brain metastasis.  The outcome of metastasis in general and brain metastasis in particular depends on the interaction of specific metastatic cells with host factors in the organ microenvironment (the “seed and soil” principle). Analyses of brain metastases demonstrated that the lesions are surrounded and infiltrated by activated astrocytes. Activated astrocytes are also associated with experimental brain metastases produced in mice by lung, brain, melanoma, and colon cancers. Isolated astrocytes from the brain and established in culture protect cocultured tumor cells from cytotoxic action of chemotherapeutic agents. Microarray experiments of human tumor cells cocultured with mouse astrocytes or mouse fibroblasts identified upregulation of survival genes in tumor cells cocultured with astrocytes, but not with fibroblasts. Since the development of metastases depends on the interactions of tumor cells with host factors, treatment of brain metastasis must be directed against both the tumor cells and the organ microenvironment.
Among his many awards and honors, Dr. Fidler is the past President of the American Association for Cancer Research and the past President of the International Society of Differentiation. In 1988 he received the G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award of the A.A.C.R., and in 1999 the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Research. In 2004, the American Cancer Society’s Distinguished Service Award was awarded to him. In 2007 he was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was the first foreigner to be named an Honorary Member of The Japanese Cancer Association. Last but not least, Prof. Fidler is an honored editorial board member of the International Journal of Cancer.


Prof. Dr. Isaiah Fidler interviewed by Dr. Stefanie Seltmann

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