Charles G. Drake, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles G. Drake has joined NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) as director of genitourinary oncology and associate director for clinical research at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. A nationally recognized expert in immunotherapy, Professor Drake will also serve as co-director of Columbia’s Cancer Immunotherapy Programs and on the faculty of CUMC.
“Charles is one of the top minds in immunotherapy and in prostate cancer research and therapies,” said Dr. Gary Schwartz, chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, associate director for clinical research at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Clyde ’56 and Helen Wu Professor of Oncology (in Medicine). “By bringing him on, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia is establishing itself as an emerging powerhouse in immunotherapy, which will allow us to unlock the mysteries of our immune system so we can bring new hope to patients with prostate and other genitourinary malignancies.”
Dr. Drake is a physician-scientist with a Ph.D. in immunology, whose work focuses on understanding and fighting advanced-stage cancers with the immune system. He is known for rapidly incorporating discoveries made in the research lab into innovative clinical trials, including anti-tumor vaccines. His most recent work has focused on the body’s immunological response to radiation therapy and how immunotherapy and radiation therapy can be used in concert to treat cancer.
“Immunotherapy represents a new frontier in prostate cancer. We’re also looking at how it can be used synergistically with traditional therapies, both in prostate cancer as well as in other tumor types,” said Dr. Drake. “It is truly an honor to join NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, which has shown a deep commitment to building a world-class clinical and translational program in immunology across the spectrum of cancers.”
Prior to joining NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, Dr. Drake served as the co-director of the Cancer Immunology Program at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. He is also a professor of oncology, urology, and immunology. As co-director of the Prostate Cancer Multi-Disciplinary Clinic, he developed a novel transgenic model of prostate cancer, in which a unique antigen is expressed exclusively in the prostate gland and in prostate tumors. Earlier in his Hopkins career, he was an associate professor in the Department of Oncology and an assistant professor of medical oncology at the institution’s Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Drake was active in teaching, leading a small group in the medical school immunology course for many years. His research has been published in prestigious journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer Research, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Drake received both his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and his master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Rutgers University. He completed a Ph.D. program at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and later earned his M.D. from the University of Colorado as part of the MSTP program. He did his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Osler Medical Service of Johns Hopkins Hospital, and did his medical oncology fellowship training in the Johns Hopkins Department of Oncology.