Researcher’s Profile

Tito A. Fojo, MD, PhD

Co-Director, Adrenal Center
Body: 

Dr. Fojo received his MD and PhD from the University of Miami and completed internal medicine training at Washington University School of Medicine / Barnes Hospital. He joined the National Cancer Institute in 1982 as a Clinical Associate in the Medicine Branch and after training with Drs. Ira Pastan and Michael Gottesman, became a Principal Investigator in the Medicine Branch of the National Cancer Institute.

As a Principal Investigator he went on to establish a highly successful translational clinical program that began by exploring agents to reverse drug resistance, continued with work on the optimal use of Taxol®, and the development of novel microtubule-targeting agents and has focused on the development of therapies for endocrine and neuroendocrine cancers.

Dr. Fojo has expertise in the management of patients with adrenocortical cancer, malignant pheochromocytoma and other neuroendocrine malignancies, and thyroid cancer. These cancers also comprise areas of very active basic science interest given their unique properties and the possibilities to target such cancers more precisely. The ultimate goal is to develop novel therapies for these often very refractory cancers so that there will be additional options available for treatment for patients with these cancers. Ongoing laboratory efforts are focused on developing such novel therapies to treat patients with adrenal cancer, pheochromocytoma and a spectrum of neuroendocrine tumors.

In the laboratory Dr. Fojo has also worked to understand the molecular basis of drug resistance, and was involved in the original work relating to several ABC transporters. Additionally, his laboratory originally identified rearrangements involving the MDR-1 gene as a novel mechanism of drug resistance in several cancers, a molecular event recently demonstrated as very important in ovarian cancer. He has also been very involved in research on microtubule-targeting agents, helping to establish as a novel paradigm the interference with microtubule trafficking, rather than mitosis, for the mechanism of action for these important drugs.

In addition to his clinical expertise Dr. Fojo has been very interested in the design, conduct and interpretation of oncology clinical trials and in collaboration with Wilfred Stein, PhD and Susan Bates, MD has helped to pioneer a novel method of analysis that dissects rates of tumor growth and regression as concurrent events. Related to this he has also written extensively about the cost of cancer therapeutics, the magnitude of the problem and how this might be addressed.

Dr. Fojo served as Program Director for the Medical Oncology Fellowship Program at the National Cancer Institute, the largest fellowship program in the NIH and one of the largest medical oncology programs in the United States. Over the years Dr. Fojo has helped to train more than 350 medical oncologists.