David Sidransky, M.D. is a leading expert and pioneer in the molecular genetic detection of cancer. He is The Director of Head and Neck Cancer Research in the Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins University. David Sidransky M.D. is best known for developing a broad-based non-invasive screening test that detects genetic biomarkers for cancer in many bodily fluids. The test, which is being studied in bladder, lung, and head and neck cancers, detects malignant cells in a very early stage, before they can be identified by conventional pathology and cytology methods. These same biomarkers have been instrumental in differentiating normal tissue from malignant tissue in head and neck cancer surgery. In 2004, Sidransky received the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) for this work. He was also recognized for his role in creating the Early Detection Research Network at the National Cancer Institute. In 2001, Sidransky and a group of Hopkins scientists developed a potential new screening test for prostate cancer. They found that measuring the level of a chemical process linked to a genetic change associated with prostate cancer could greatly strengthen standard detection of early-stage curable disease. In 1994, Sidransky gained national attention when he used his cancer test to detect bladder cancer cells in stored tissue samples taken from former Vice President Hubert Humphrey in 1967. Humphrey died of bladder cancer because the malignancy had been undetected. He has over 250 peer-reviewed publications, and has contributed more than 40 cancer reviews and chapters and also has numerous issued biotechnology patents. He has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including the 1997 Sarstedt International prize from the German Society of Clinical Chemistry, the 1998 Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Health by the American College of Chest Physicians and the 2004 Hinda and Richard Rosenthal Award from the American Association of Cancer Research. Currently, his research is concentrating on identifying new genetic changes on smoking-associated tumors, including lung cancer, head and neck cancer and bladder cancer. His laboratory group is also investigating the molecular epidemiology of smoking induced cancers and the link between tobacco smoke and mutations of critical oncogenes (genes that when altered, can cause cancer). Sidransky found that the protein p63 can drive cancer progression. Recently, he also discovered that a mutation of the BRAF gene occurs in about two-thirds of papillary thyroid cancers. These tumors, which account for about 75 percent of all thyroid cancer, are mostly found in women. His research may lead to new therapies that could target the effects of the mutation. Sidransky received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1984, where he also completed a residency in internal medicine. He came to Johns Hopkins in 1988, where he completed a clinical and research fellowship in oncology. Sidransky joined the Hopkins faculty in 1992.

David Sidransky
Director of Head and Neck Cancer Research
Johns Hopkins University

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