Physician’s Profile


Charles G. Drake, MD, PhD

Department of Medicine
Division of Hematology/Oncology
Co-Director, Cancer Immunotherapy Programs
Co-leader, Tumor Biology and Microenvironment Program.

Dr. Charles G. 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.

The Drake laboratory was the first group to show that LymphocyteActivation Gene–3 (LAG-3) is a cell surface marker for CD4 cells with regulatory function (Treg) and that blockade of LAG-3 with a monoclonal antibody could restore anti-tumor immune responses by mitigating CD8 T-cell tolerance in vivo. Further work demonstrated that LAG-3 and PD-1 were co-expressed on functionally exhausted CD8 T cells, suggesting that blockade of multiple immune checkpoints might be required to restore anti-tumor immunity. These discoveries were then translated into clinical trials.

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. 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.

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.

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.

Areas of Expertise:
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Kidney & Adrenal Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Medical Oncology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Clinical Research Trials
  • Immunology
  • Genitourinary Cancer
Honors & Awards:

2015 Resident's Teaching Award, The Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins

2013 Director's Teaching Award in Laboratory-Based Cancer Research; Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

2011 Society for Immunotherapy for Cancer- Volunteer Recognition Award

2010 Prostate Cancer Foundation - Creativity Award

2006 V Foundation - Scholar Award

2006 Director's Teaching Award in Clinical Science; Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

2004 Damon Runyon - Lilly Clinical Investigator Award

2001 Aventis Fellow - Johns Hopkins Department of Oncology

1997 American College of Physicians Student Abstract Competition(Clinical Vignette Award)

1997 Edward Stoiber Scholar Award for Outstanding Scholarship during All Four Medical School Years

1996 Election to Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) - Medical Honor Society

1994 E.E. Osgood Award For Highest Ranked Abstract by a Student. Western Society for Clinical Research

1993, 1994 Award For Outstanding Research; University of Colorado Student Research Forum

1993 Viola Vestal Coulter Foundation Scholarship for Graduate Research

1984, 1985 Deans List, Rutgers University College of Engineering

1984 Eta Kappa Nu - Electrical Engineering Honor Society