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Research Theme

Tumour Microenvironment (Co-Investigator)

Amato Giaccia

Director, Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology

  • Jack, Lulu & Sam Willson Professor in Cancer Biology

Research Summary

My research program is focused on translating basic science findings on the role of hypoxia in tumour progression and resistance to therapy to pre-clinical models of cancer that I ultimately hopes to take into the clinic. My overarching hypothesis is that hypoxia not only makes tumour cells resistant to radiotherapy, chemotherapy and in some cases targeted therapy, but also increases their invasiveness and metastatic potential by inducing a select group of genes involved in tissue remodeling. My group is rigorously investigating the genomic response of tumour cells to hypoxia and are developing new targeted therapies to eliminate hypoxic cells or inhibit the secreted gene products of hypoxic cells that drive malignant progression. The group have advanced understanding of gene regulation under hypoxic conditions, have used synthetic lethal screening to identify new targets for hypoxia directed therapies, and are developing new diagnostics for hypoxia. Our future goals will be to further define critical effectors of the hypoxic response that are essential for tumour growth and expansion that can be targeted therapeutically. 

Biography

Professor Amato Giaccia is the Director of the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology and has held this position, with the University of Oxford since January 2019. 

Until moving to Oxford he was “Jack, Lulu and Sam Willson Professor in Cancer Biology” in the Stanford University School of Medicine, Professor of Radiation Oncology, Associate Chair for Research & Director of the Division of Radiation & Cancer Biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stanford University, California.  He was the Director of Basic Science at the Stanford Cancer Institute and lead the Radiation Biology Program in Stanford’s Cancer Center, and was Director of the Cancer Biology Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. 

He was awarded an American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award and the Michael Fry Award from the Radiation Research Society for his outstanding contributions on understanding the molecular mechanisms of resistance promoted by the tumor microenvironment.  Additionally, he was the recipient of the 2013 ASTRO Gold Medal.  In 2015, he was awarded an NIH R35 Outstanding Investigator Award and was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine. 

He co-authored the sixth, seventh & eighth editions of the textbook, “Radiation Biology for the Radiologist,” with Professor Eric Hall from Columbia. 

Key publications