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Prof. Wafik El-deiry

Chief, Hematology/Oncology
Penn State University

United States of America


Dr. Wafik El-Deiry, MD, PhD, FACP is 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, Associate Director for Translational Research and Program Leader of Experimental Therapeutics at the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. Dr. El-Deiry is also 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 prestigious journal Cell over the last 20 years. 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 199 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 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. Dr. El-Deiry’s laboratory has also developed a functional small molecule discovery screening and in vivo validation/efficacy testing process for accelerating the identification and development of molecularly-targeted anti-cancer therapeutic agents. He has over 300 peer reviewed publications. He has been very active in serving 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 very 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.


Academic positions:

Rose Dunlap Professor and Chief, Hematology/Oncology Division Associate Director for Translational Research, Cancer Institute Program Leader, Experimental Therapeutics, Cancer Institute Penn State University and Penn State Hershey Medical Center


Research interests:

New cancer therapies Cancer cell death Resistance to anti-cancer drugs Cancer drug discovery and development Hypoxia and tumor microenvironment Cancer stem cells Circulating tumor cells In vivo molecular imaging P53 and TRAIL signaling BRCA1 Mouse models of human cancer


Any other information:

Dr. El-Deiry is an experienced editor in the field of cancer research and translational oncology.

Publications peer reviewed:

1. Cupo, P., El-Deiry, W.S., Whitney, P.L., and Awad, W.M: Stabilization of proteins by
guanidination. J. Biol. Chem. 255:10828, 1980.
2. Cupo, P., El-Deiry, W.S., Whitney, P.L., and Awad, W.M. Stability of acetylated and
superguanidinated chymotrypsinogens. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 216:600, 1982.
3. El-Deiry, W.S., Downey, K.M., and So, A.G. Molecular mechanisms of manganese mutagenesis.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 81:7378, 1984.
4. El-Deiry, W.S., So., A.G., and Downey, K.M. Mechanisms of error discrimination by Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I. Biochemistry 27:546, 1988.
5. El-Deiry, W.S., and Agre, P. Hereditary Spherocytosis- Grand Rounds at The Johns Hopkins
Hospital. JAMA 262:2887, 1989.
6. El-Deiry, W.S., Nelkin, B.D., Celano, P., Chiu Yen, R.-W., Falco, J., Hamilton, S.R., and Baylin, S.B. High expression of the DNA methyltransferase gene characterizes human neoplastic cells and progression stages of colon cancer. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88:3470, 1991.
7. El-Deiry, W.S., Kern, S.E., Pietenpol, J.A., Kinzler, K.W., and Vogelstein, B. Definition of a consensus binding site for p53. Nature Genetics 1:45, 1992.
8. Yen, R.-W. C., Vertino, P.M., Nelkin, B.D., Yu, J.J., El-Deiry, W.S., Cumaraswamy, A., Lennon, G.G., Trask, B.J., Celano, P., and Baylin, S.B. Isolation and characterization of the cDNA encoding human DNA methyltransferase. Nucleic Acids Res. 20:2287, 1992.
9. Kastan, M.B., Zhan, Q., El-Deiry, W.S., Carrier, F., Jacks, T., Walsh, W.V., Plunkett, B.S., Vogelstein, B., and Fornace, Jr., A. J. A mammalian cell cycle checkpoint pathway utilizing p53 and GADD45 is defective in Ataxia Telangiectasia. Cell 71:587, 1992.
10. El-Deiry, W.S., Tokino, T., Velculescu, V.E., Levy, D.B., Parsons, R., Trent, J.M., Lin, D., Mercer, W.E., Kinzler, K.W., and Vogelstein, B. WAF1, a potential mediator of p53 tumor suppression. Cell 75:817, 1993.
11. Pietenpol, J.A., Tokino, T., El-Deiry, W.S., Kinzler, K.W., and Vogelstein, B. Sequence-specific transcriptional activation is essential for growth suppression by p53. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91:1998, 1994.
12. El-Deiry, W.S., Harper, J.W., O'Connor, P.M., Velculescu, V.E., Canman, C.E., Jackman, J.,
Pietenpol, J., Burrell, M., Hill, D.E., Wiman, K.G., Mercer, W.E., Kastan, M.B., Kohn, K.W., Elledge, S.J., Kinzler, K.W., and Vogelstein, B. WAF1/CIP1 is induced in p53-mediated G1 arrest and apoptosis. Cancer Res. 54:1169, 1994.
13. Tokino, T., Thiagalingam, S., El-Deiry, W.S., Waldman, T., Kinzler, K.W., and Vogelstein, B. p53 tagged sites from human genomic DNA. Human Molec. Genet., 3: 1537-1542, 1994.
14. Shiohara, M., El-Deiry, W.S., Wada, M., Nakamaki, T., Takeuchi, S., Yang, R., Chen, D.-L.,
Vogelstein, B., and Koeffler, H.P. Absence of WAF1 mutations in a variety of human malignancies. Blood, 84:3781-3784, 1994.
15. Fan, S., El-Deiry, W.S., Bae, I., Freeman, J., Jondle, D., Bhatia, K., Fornace, A.J., Magrath, I., Kohn, K.W., and O'Connor, P.M. p53 gene mutations are associated with decreased sensitivity of human lymphoma cells to DNA damaging agents. Cancer Research, 54: 5824-5830, 1994.
16. Sun, Y., Hildesheim, A., Li, H., Li, Y., Chen, J.-Y., Cheng, Y.-J., Hayes, R.B., Rothman, N., Bi, W.-F., Cao, Y., Yao, K.-T., Lanier, A.P., Hegamyer, G., El-Deiry, W.S., Xiong, Y., and Colburn, N.H. No point mutation but a codon 31 (ser to arg) polymorphism of the WAF1/CIP1/p21 tumor suppressor gene in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC): The polymorphism distinguishes Caucasians from Chinese. Cancer Epidem. Biomarkers and Prevention, 4:261-267, 1995.
17. Wales, M.M., Biel, M.A., El-Deiry, W., Nelkin, B.D., Issa, J.-P., Cavenee, W.K., Kuerbitz, S.J., and Baylin, S.B. p53 activates expression of HIC-1, a new candidate tumor suppressor gene on 17p13.3. Nature Medicine, 1:570-577, 1995.
18. Bedi, A., Barber, J.P., Bedi, G.C., El-Deiry, W.S., Sidransky, D., Vala, M.S., Akhtar, A.J., Hilton, J., and Jones, R.J. BCR-ABL-mediated inhibition of apoptosis with delay of G2/M transition After DNA damage: A mechanism of resistance to multiple anticancer agents. Blood, 86:1148-1158, 1995.
19. Zhan, Q., El-Deiry, W., Bae, I., Alamo, I., Jacks, T., Kastan, M.B., Vogelstein, B., and Fornace, Jr., A.J. Similarity of the DNA-damage responsiveness and growth-suppressive properties of WAF1/CIP1 and GADD45. Int. J. Oncol., 6: 937-946, 1995.
20. da Costa, L.T., Liu, B., El-Deiry, W.S., Hamilton, S.R., Kinzler, K.W., Vogelstein, B., Markowitz, S., Willson, J.K.V., de la Chapelle, A., Downey, K.M., and So, A.G. Polymerase delta variants in RER colorectal tumors. Nature Genetics, 9:10-11, 1995.
21. El-Deiry, W.S., Tokino, T., Waldman, T., Oliner, J.D., Velculescu, V.E., Burrell, M., Hill, D.E., Healy, E., Rees, J.L., Hamilton, S.R., Kinzler, K.W., and Vogelstein, B. Topological control of p21WAF1/CIP1 expression in normal and neoplastic tissues. Cancer Res., 55:2910-2919, 1995.
22. Baas, I.O., Offerhaus, G.J.A., El-Deiry, W.S., Wu, T.-C., Hutchins, G.M., Kasper, E.K.,
Baughman, K.L., Baumgartner, W.A., Chiou, C.-J., Hayward, G.S., and Hruban, R.H. The WAF1-
mediated p53 growth suppressor pathway is intact in the coronary arteries of heart transplant recipients. Human Pathology, 27:324-329, 1996.
23. Lu, C.-D., El-Deiry, W.S., Downey, K.M., and So, A.G. Base Selection by E. coli DNA
Polymerase I. Chinese J. of Biochem. and Biophys. 28:259-268, 1996.
24. Dowell, S.P., McGoogan, E., Picksley, S.M., El-Deiry, W.S., Vogelstein, B., and Hall, P.A.
Expression of p21WAF1/CIP1, MDM2 and p53 In Vivo: Analysis of Cytological Preparations.
Cytopathology, 7:340-351, 1996.
25. Zeng, Y.-X., and El-Deiry, W.S. Regulation of p21WAF1/CIP1 Expression by p53-independent
Pathways. Oncogene, 12:1557-1564, 1996.
26. Wu, G.S., and El-Deiry, W.S. Apoptotic Death of Tumor Cells Correlates with Chemosensitivity, Independent of p53 or Bcl2. Clin. Cancer Res., 2:623-633, 1996.
27. Blagosklonny, M.V., and El-Deiry, W.S. In-Vitro Evaluation of a p53-Expressing Adenovirus as an Anticancer Drug. Int. J. Cancer, 67:386-392, 1996.
28. Prabhu, N.S., Blagosklonny, M.V., Zeng, Y.-X., Wu, G.S., Waldman, T., and El-Deiry, W.S.
Suppression of Cancer Cell Growth by Adenovirus Expressing p21WAF1/CIP1 Deficient in PCNA
Interaction. Clin. Cancer Res., 2:1221-1230, 1996.
29. McDonald, E.R., III, Wu, G.S., Waldman, T., and El-Deiry, W.S. Repair Defect in
p21WAF1/CIP1-/- Cells. Cancer Res., 56:2250-2255, 1996.
30. Wu, G.S., and El-Deiry, W.S. p53 and chemosensitivity. Nature Medicine, 2:255-256, 1996
31. Gartel, A.L., Serfas, M.S., Gartel, M., Goufman, E., Wu, G.S., El-Deiry, W., and Tyner, A.L. p21 (WAF1/CIP1) expression is induced in newly nondividing cells in diverse epithelia and during differentiation of the Caco-2 intestinal cell line. Exp. Cell Res., 227:171-181, 1996.
32. Blagosklonny, M.V., Wu, G.S., Omura, S., and El-Deiry, W.S. Proteasome-dependent regulation of p21WAF1/CIP1 expression. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 227:564-569, 1996.
33. Somasundaram, K., and El-Deiry, W.S. Inhibition of p53-mediated transactivation and cell cycle arrest by E1A through its p300/CBP-interacting region. Oncogene, 14:1047-1058, 1997.
34. Shick, L., Carmen, J., Choi, J., Somasundaram, K., Burrell, M., Hill, D.E., Zeng, Y.-X., Wang, Y., Wiman, K.G., Salhany, K., Kadesch, T.R., Monroe, J., Donehower, L.A., and El-Deiry, W.S. Decreased Ig deposition in tumors and increased immature B cells in p53-/- mice. Cell Growth and Diff., 8:121-131, 1997.
35. Zeng, Y.-X., Somasundaram, K., and El-Deiry, W.S. AP-2 inhibits cancer cell growth and
activates p21WAF1/CIP1 expression. Nature Genet., 15:78-82, 1997.
36. Zeng, Y.-X., Somasundaram, K., Prabhu, N.S., Krishnadasan, R., and El-Deiry, W.S. Detection and analysis of living growth inhibited mammalian cells following transfection. BioTechniques, 23:88-94, 1997.
37. Blagosklonny, M.V., Giannakakou, P., El-Deiry, W.S., Kingston, D., Neckers, L., and Fojo, T. Activation of Raf-1/bcl-2 pathway by microtubule active drugs links microtubule damage to cell death. Cancer Res., 57:130-135, 1997.
38. Zeng, Y.-X., Prabhu, N.S., Meng, R., and El-Deiry, W.S. Adenovirus-mediated p53 gene therapy in nasopharyngeal cancer. Int. J. Oncol., 11:221-226, 1997.
39. Blagosklonny, M.V., Wu, G.S., Somasundaram, K., and El-Deiry, W.S. Wild-type p53 is not
sufficient for serum starvation-induced apoptosis in cancer cells but accelerates apoptosis in sensitive cells. Int. J. Oncol., 11:1165-1170, 1997.
40. Blagosklonny, M.V., Prahbu, N.S., and El-Deiry, W.S. Defects in p21WAF1/CIP1, Rb, and c-myc Signaling in Phorbol Ester-resistant Cancer Cells. Cancer Res., 57:320-325, 1997.
41. Somasundaram, K., Zhang, H., Zeng, Y.-X., Houvras, H., Peng, Y., Zhang, H., Wu, G.S., Licht, J.D., Weber, B.L., and El-Deiry, W.S. Arrest of the cell cycle by the tumour suppressor BRCA1 requires the CDK-inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1. Nature, 389:187-190, 1997.
42. Wu, G.S., Burns, T.F., McDonald III, E.R., Jiang, W., Meng, R., Krantz, I.D., Kao, G., Gan, D.-D., Zhou, J.-Y., Muschel, R., Hamilton, S.R., Spinner, N.B., Markowitz, S., Wu, G., and El-Deiry, W.S. KILLER/DR5 is a DNA damage-inducible p53-regulated death receptor gene. Nature Genetics, 17:141-143, 1997.
43. Meng, R., Shih, H., Prabhu, N., George, D., and El-Deiry, W.S. Bypass of abnormal MDM2
inhibition of p53-dependent growth suppression. Clin. Cancer Res., 4:251-259, 1998.
44. Bennett, W.P., El-Deiry, W.S., Rush, W.L., Guinee, D.G., Jr., Freedman, A.N., Caporaso, N.E., Welsh, J.A., Jones, R.T., Borkowski, A., Travis, W.D., Fleming, M.V., Trastek, V., Pairolero, P.C., Tazelaar, H.F., Midthun, D., Jett, J.R., Liotta, L.A., and Harris, C.C. p21WAF1/CIP1 and transforming growth factor ß1 protein expression correlate with survival in non-small cell lung cancer. Clin. Cancer Res., 4:1499-1506, 1998.
45. Gee, M., Sarkisian, C., and El-Deiry, W.S. Identification of a novel AP-2 consensus DNA binding site. Biochem Biophys. Res. Comm., 243:307-316, 1998.
46. Wu, G.S., Saftig, P., Peters, C. and El-Deiry, W.S. Potential role for Cathepsin D in p53-dependent tumor Suppression and chemosensitivity. Oncogene, 16:2177-2183, 1998.
47. Blagosklonny, M.V., and El-Deiry, W.S. Acute overexpression of wt p53 facilitates anticancer drug-induced death of cancer and normal cells. Int. J. Cancer, 75:933-940, 1998.
48. Tong, B., Yang, T.-Y., Grimes, H.L., Bear, S.E., Qin, Z., Du, K., El-Deiry W.S., Tsichlis P.N. The Gfi-1B proto-oncoprotein represses p21WAF1 and inhibits myeloid cell differentiation. Mol. Cell. Biol., 18:2462-2473, 1998.
49. Zhang, H., Somasundaram, K., Peng, Y., Tian, H., Zhang, H., Weber, B.L., and El-Deiry, W.S. The tumor suppressor BRCA1 physically interacts with p53 and stimulates gatekeeper-dependent transcription of bax and p21WAF1/CIP1. Oncogene, 16:1713-1721, 1998.
50. Sheikh, M.S., Burns, T.F., Huang, Y., Wu, G.S., Amundson, S., Brooks, K.S., Fornace, A.J., Jr., and El-Deiry, W.S. p53-dependent and independent regulation of the death receptor KILLER/DR5 gene expression in response to genotoxic stress and TNFα. Cancer Res., 58:1593-1598, 1998.


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Great idea. Post-publication review can provide a measure of impact.