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Anthony Faber named program leader of Developmental Therapeutics

Faber is a scientist researching new combinations of targeted therapies for solid tumors

Massey researcher Anthony Faber, Ph.D., has been appointed as the co-leader of the Developmental Therapeutics (DT) research program at VCU Massey Cancer Center. He will serve in this capacity alongside Steven Grant, M.D., who has co-led the program since 2011.

As co-leader of DT, Faber will work with Grant to develop and guide the strategic direction of the DT program and will serve on Massey’s senior leadership team, helping the cancer center to advance its scientific objectives. He will focus on opportunities to strengthen the DT program’s membership, facilitate transdisciplinary collaborations among its members, cultivate its cancer-focused grant funding and foster translational research leading to new clinical trials.

The DT program consists of basic science researchers and various types of clinicians who help bridge Massey’s basic research programs and clinical research endeavors by exploring cancer therapeutics, identifying molecular targets, assessing the molecular genetic profiles of tumors and translating these findings into the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer.

“I am pleased to welcome Anthony Faber to Massey’s leadership team,” said Gordon D. Ginder, M.D., director of VCU Massey Cancer Center. “His scientific contributions and fresh ideas will without a doubt strengthen our developmental therapeutics research efforts.”

“I am honored to serve in this capacity at Massey Cancer Center,” said Faber. “I look forward to the opportunity to help build on Massey’s cancer research contributions and help promote collaborations that ultimately lead to the development of more effective strategies to treat cancer.”

Faber has been a member of the DT program since he joined VCU in 2014 from Harvard Medical School. An assistant professor in the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research at the VCU School of Dentistry, he holds the Harrison Endowed Scholar in Cancer Research at Massey and is a Blick Scholar at VCU.

Faber’s research is largely centered on improving targeted therapies in different cancer paradigms and in developing new targeted therapy combinations in genetically defined subsets of solid tumor cancers, with an emphasis on pediatric cancers. In cancers without existing targeted therapy treatments, his goal is to find often unsuspected, specific vulnerabilities of these cancers, allowing for the rational implementation of currently available targeted therapies. Some recent examples are demonstrating vulnerabilities of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma and SCLC to BCL-2 inhibitor-based therapies and of Ewing Sarcoma to the combination of PARP and BCL-2/BCL-xL inhibitors. These concepts developed in his laboratory studies are heading toward clinical trial testing.

With more than three-dozen research articles published in numerous peer-reviewed scientific journals, Faber currently holds an R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute to support his research aimed at identifying novel targeted therapies for neuroblastoma. He is also supported by research funding from the Department of Defense, American Cancer Society and Mary Kay Foundation. He was previously supported by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, the American Lung Association and the Sarcoma Foundation of America, among others.

In addition, Faber is an American Cancer Society Research Scholar, was the recipient of a National Cancer Institute Career Development Award and the 2017 VCU Dean’s Faculty Award of Excellence in Research, and was previously a fellow of the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen. He is a member of the American Association of Cancer Research Pediatric Cancer Working Group, Christian Scientific Society, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and Cancer Epigenetics Society.

After obtaining a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Rhode Island, Faber earned an M.A. in biology from Boston University and a Ph.D. in biology from Boston College. He completed his post-doctoral training in cancer therapeutics at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School.

Written by: Jenny Owen

Posted on: August 6, 2018