A world-renowned cancer investigator from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was recently honored by the American Association for Cancer Research as it inaugurated the first class of the Fellows of the AACR Academy.
Tom Curran, PhD, F.R.S., deputy scientific director of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, was formally inducted into the Academy on April 5 in Washington, D.C. He is one of 106 fellows from across the country to receive the honor of induction into the AACR Academy.
The Academy was created to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose major scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. These Fellows have been selected through a rigorous peer review process that evaluates individuals on the basis of their stellar scientific achievements in cancer research.
Dr. Curran, a past president of the AACR, studies brain development and pediatric brain tumors, with an eye toward identifying molecular changes and potential drug targets. He also investigates the mechanism of action of anticancer drugs in tumor cells and cancer models.
Specifically, Dr. Curran discovered the Fos oncogene and its binding partner from another oncogene called Jun. He later showed that these two oncogenes regulate gene expression associated with cell proliferation and differentiation, cell death and neuronal activation. This work illuminated the pathways that go awry in cancer cells, and initiated the use of Fos as a marker for activity-dependent changes in the nervous system.
Additionally, Dr. Curran considers among his greatest achievements his contribution to the development of a drug that is now in pediatric trials - Erivedge, which was recently approved by the FDA to treat cancer in adults.
Dr. Curran has been honored with numerous awards and fellowships throughout his distinguished research career. In addition to serving as the Deputy Scientific Director at CHOP Research, Dr. Curran is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine. He is also the associate director of Translational Genomics at the Penn Genome Frontiers Institute in Philadelphia.