Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
Physician in Chief and Distinguished Professor, TGen
Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic
Professor of Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine
Chief Scientific Officer, Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare
Dr. Von Hoff is a pioneer and world leader in translational medicine, accelerating novel drug discoveries from the laboratory to cancer treatments in clinical trials. He has personally been involved in over 200 clinical trials. In 1985, when his NFCR grant support began, his research led to the first approved treatment for pancreatic cancer, the chemotherapy gemcitabine. Resistance to pancreatic cancer therapies results in poor survival. His current research involves developing precision therapies for pancreatic cancer patients, by identifying the role of different pancreatic cancer cell populations in resistance to therapy.
Recently, he discovered that pancreatic tumors express scar-forming cells called fibroblasts that protect cancer cells from immune system attack. This has furthered our understanding of signaling pathways in the tumor microenvironment to exploit and make tumors more susceptible to attack and cell death. Dr. Von Hoff’s team identified one such pathway, known as the EMT pathway, that makes tumor cells more aggressive and resistant to many chemotherapeutics. He also discovered that pancreatic cancer cells expressing the EMT pathway respond better to a sequential regimen of chemotherapy and an EMT inhibitor. Dr. Von Hoff demonstrated that first treating patients with chemotherapy resulted in killing most pancreatic cancer cells and subsequent treatment with EMT inhibitors killed the remaining drug resistant EMT-positive pancreatic cancer cells. His laboratory is currently developing this regimen for a clinical trial to provide precision oncology therapy for pancreatic cancer patients.
Daniel Von Hoff, M.D., attended Carroll College and Columbia University before conducting his residency in internal medicine at UC San Francisco. After that, he had a fellowship in oncology at the National Cancer Institute before joining the faculty at the University of Texas Health Science Center as a professor of medicine and cellular and structural biology. Dr. Von Hoff went on to become the founding director of the Institute for Drug Development at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center and director of the cancer center at the University of Arizona.
Dr. Von Hoff’s major interest is in the development of new anticancer agents, both in the clinic and in the laboratory.
Throughout his career, Dr. Von Hoff has published more than 650 papers, 140 book chapters and 1,000 abstracts. Dr. Von Hoff was selected as a 2016 Giant of Cancer Care® by OncLive, honored with the Scripps Genomic Medicine Award in 2011, named one of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 50 Oncology Luminaries in 2014 and among the first class selected in 2013 by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) for its Fellows of the AACR Academy.
In addition to leading the NFCR Center for New Therapy Development (2001-2006) and the NFCR Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies (2007-2017), Dr. Von Hoff was appointed to President Bush’s National Cancer Advisory Board from 2004-2010, is the past President of AACR, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member and past board member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He is also the founder and the Editor Emeritus of Investigational New Drugs – The Journal of New Anticancer Agents and past Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.