Jack A. Roth, M.D., F.A.C.S
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Oncology
Director, W. M. Keck Center for Innovative Cancer Therapies
Chief Section of Thoracic Molecular Oncology
Chairman of the Genprex Scientific and Medical Advisory Board
Dr. Jack A. Roth earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1971, and then completed postgraduate training in thoracic surgery and research at the UCLA School of Medicine. He was a senior investigator and head of the Thoracic Oncology Section in the National Cancer Institute’s Surgery Branch before joining the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center(UTMDACC) in 1986 as professor and chair of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. He serves as founding director of the W. M. Keck Center for Innovative Cancer Therapies and holds academic appointments in UTMDACC’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology and the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. While at the NCI, Dr. Roth completed the first randomized clinical trials of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for squamous carcinoma of the esophagus and open lung biopsy in immunocompromised patients with diffuse pulmonary infiltrates. At UTMDACC, Dr. Roth has initiated and acted as the principal investigator of the first gene therapy trials for lung cancer. Dr. Roth has spearheaded the development of institutional multidisciplinary protocols in thoracic oncology and was the principal investigator of the first randomized trial showing survival benefit with neoadjuvant chemotherapy in stage IIIA resectable lung cancer.
Among his landmark achievements, Dr. Roth was principal investigator for the first tumor suppressor gene therapy clinical trials approved by the National Institutes of Health Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Approval for those historic protocols was based on his demonstrating feasibility and efficacy through laboratory and preclinical studies. His team showed that restoration of function for a single normal tumor suppressor gene could mediate regression of human cancers in vivo, helped identify and characterize a number of novel tumor suppressor genes on chromosome 3, and found that systemic delivery of tumor suppressor genes using a nanoparticle vector could effectively treat disseminated human lung cancer in animal models. These observations led Dr. Roth and colleagues to initiate the first clinical trial using nanoparticles to deliver genes systemically. Cancer gene therapy developed in his laboratory became the first gene therapy to be approved for human use. In addition to being an international leader in developing gene therapy for lung and other cancers, he has trained a new generation of outstanding surgical oncologists and laboratory researchers who are applying his philosophy of excellence throughout the world.
Numerous major grants supporting the Roth-directed translational research include an NCI SPORE Grant in lung cancer, the first awarded to a UTMDACC investigator that is shared by faculty at UTMDACC and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The joint collaboration has twice been renewed. Roth was responsible for establishing the Keck Center for Innovative Cancer Therapies to serve as an institute without walls to coordinate targeted therapy studies among UTMDACC investigators. He has contributed to more than 480 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 110 book chapters, and been awarded nearly 50 U.S. and foreign patents with another 50 pending. He has received numerous awards including the Lucy Wortham James Basic Research Award, Society of Surgical Oncology; The Best Doctors in America Award for over 18 consecutive years; Award of Excellence, 32nd Annual Congress, Japan Society for Cancer Therapy; the Charles Moetel Lecture, Mayo Clinic; the Gordon Hamilton-Farley lecture, British Association for Cancer Research and British Society for Surgical Oncology; Elaine & Gerald Schuster Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Harvard Medical School; Inaugural Glick Lecturer, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; the Claggett Award Lecture, Mayo Clinic; Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science, and The Otis W. and Pearl L. Walters Faculty Achievement Award in Clinical Research.