Jonathan Lewis (oncologist)

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Jonathan J. Lewis, M.D., Ph.D.
Occupation Surgeon, biomedical researcher, entrepreneur, CEO, cancer drug developer

Jonathan J. Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., is a surgeon, biomedical researcher and entrepreneur. He was trained in surgery in South Africa, Britain, and the United States, and is a fellow of both the Royal College of Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons.[1] Dr. Lewis was awarded an MB.B.Ch. from University of the Witwatersrand School of Medicine, and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Witwatersrand and Yale School of Medicine. He completed his Surgical Residency at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and at Yale-New Haven Hospital. [2] Lewis was a Professor of Surgery and Medicine Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center,[3] before working in the biotechnology industry, first as Chief Medical Officer of Antigenics, then as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. Lewis has also worked as a specialist advisor and board member for charitable and non-profit organizations, including the Congressional Business Council, Hope Funds for Cancer Research, POPPA/NYPD and the Yale Biotechnology and Pharma Society.[3]


Lewis received his MB. B.Ch. from University of the Witwatersrand in 1982 and his Ph.D. degree in the Molecular and Cell Biology of Growth Factor Signal Transduction from the University of Witwatersrand and Yale School of Medicine in 1990. During this time he became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1987.[1] At Yale he trained under Elton Cahow and William Collins, and at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center he trained under Sir Murray Brennan. At Sloan-Kettering, he completed postdoctoral research in the labs of David Golde and Alan Houghton.[4][5]

During his time at Yale University, Lewis was part of a group known as the “Legends of Yale,”[1] which includes Walter Longo, professor of surgery at Yale University; Steve Leach, Head, David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Jim Goldenring, vice chairman for research at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; and Margrét Oddsdóttir, previously chairman of surgery of the Reykjavík University in Iceland, whom Lewis later treated with Larry Norton, Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Breast Cancer Programs, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, until her death in January 2009 of breast cancer.

Research and scientific contribution[edit]

Dr. Lewis’ research has contributed to the development of innovative cancer treatments and treatment approaches.[6][7] Lewis' work focused on better understanding the biology and treatment of difficult-to-treat cancers. This includes the early use of peptides and DNA vaccines with active immunotherapy using T cells,[8][9] a better understanding of the biology and role of surgery in retroperitoneal sarcoma,[10] the liberal and correct use of re-resection in extremity sarcoma,[11] and the potential use of vaccines in pancreatic cancer.[12] Lewis has authored over 200 scientific publications, which include work in the biology and treatment of sarcoma, the biology and treatment of pancreatic cancer, molecular cancer vaccines, gene therapy and the translation of laboratory findings to the clinic, in addition to writing chapters or sections in 15 major textbooks.[13] He has also published on a peer-based assistance program for officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the effects of the 9/11 attacks,[14] and written on health policy and directed the use of funding in healthcare.

Throughout his career as a physician, Lewis has treated a diverse and notable group of patients, including Kitch Christie, the head coach of the South Africa national rugby union team, the Springboks, which won the Rugby World Cup in 1995, and, along with team captain Francois Pienaar and Nelson Mandela, became a symbol of the rainbow nation of the new South Africa. Lewis treated Christie together with his surgical mentor Murray Brennan and research mentor David Golde.[15] Lewis later cared for Chief Justice Ismail Mahomed, Gordon Brown and Kate McGarrigle, whom he encouraging her to perform with her family at the Royal Albert Hall on December 9, 2009, just six weeks before her death in January 2010.[16]

Lewis has also been involved helping children with cancer through the Kristen Ann Carr Fund, hosting families from all over the world as they go through cancer treatment in the United States.[17]

Honors and awards[edit]

Lewis has been awarded honors in medicine and science, including the Sulliman Medal for Physiology and Biochemistry, the Gold Medal from the American Board of Surgeons, Yale University Ohse Award, NIH/NIDDK Traveling Fellowship Award (Impact of molecular genetics on molecular disease), the Trubshaw Medal in Surgery, the ASCO Young Investigator Award, The Sloan-Kettering Teaching Award, the Kristen Ann Carr Fellowship, Americas Top Surgeon, Winston Fellow in Biomedical Research, Sloan-Kettering Institute Clinical Scholars Award and the Sarcoma Foundation of America Hope and Vision Award.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b c d Kendra Wingate (2014). "Hope Triumphs". Fairfield Livingmag. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ "ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc.". Bloomberg. 2015-07-21. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Sarcoma Foundation Of America Honors Jonathan Lewis With 2009 Vision Of Hope Award". Medical News Today. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  4. ^ Hawkins WG, Gold JS, Dyall R, Wolchok J, Hoos A, Bowne WB, Srinivasan R, Houghton AN, Lewis JJ. "Immunization with DNA coding for gp100 results in CD4 T-cell independent antitumor immunity". Surgery Date= August 2000 128 (2): 273–80. doi:10.1067/msy.2000.107421. PMID 10923004. 
  5. ^ Bowne WB, Antonescu CR, Leung DH, et al. (June 2000). "Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans: A clinicopathologic analysis of patients treated and followed at a single institution". Cancer 88 (12): 2711–20. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(20000615)88:12<2711::aid-cncr9>;2-m. PMID 10870053. INIST:1476351. [not in citation given]
  6. ^ Mary Anne Chute Lynch. "A New Generation of Cancer Vaccines - New York Times". Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  7. ^ Lewis JJ (October 2004). "Therapeutic cancer vaccines: using unique antigens". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 101 Suppl 2: 14653–6. Bibcode:2004PNAS..10114653L. doi:10.1073/pnas.0404839101. JSTOR 3373502. PMC 521987. PMID 15297620. 
  8. ^ Restifo, NP, Lewis, JJ, “; et al. (August 2000). "Evaluation of CD8(+) T-cell frequencies by the Elispot assay in healthy individuals and in patients with metastatic melanoma immunized with tyrosinase peptide". International Journal of Cancer 87 (3): 391–8. doi:10.1002/1097-0215(20000801)87:3<391::AID-IJC13>3.0.CO;2-K. PMID 10897045. 
  9. ^ DeVita, VT, Rosenberg, SA, Hellman, S (December 2014). Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. Lippincott, Baltimore. p. 45-47. ISBN 9781451192940. 
  10. ^ Heslin MJ, Lewis JJ, Nadler E, et al. (August 1997). "Prognostic factors associated with long-term survival for retroperitoneal sarcoma: implications for management". Journal of Clinical Oncology 15 (8): 2832–9. PMID 9256126. 
  11. ^ Lewis JJ, Leung D, Espat J, Woodruff JM, Brennan MF (May 2000). "Effect of reresection in extremity soft tissue sarcoma". Annals of Surgery 231 (5): 655–63. doi:10.1097/00000658-200005000-00005. PMC 1421052. PMID 10767786. 
  12. ^ Maki RG, Livingston PO, Lewis JJ, et al. (August 2007). "A phase I pilot study of autologous heat shock protein vaccine HSPPC-96 in patients with resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma". Digestive Diseases and Sciences 52 (8): 1964–72. doi:10.1007/s10620-006-9205-2. PMID 17420942. 
  13. ^ Search Results for author Lewis JJ on PubMed.
  14. ^ Dowling FG, Moynihan G, Genet B, Lewis J.' (January 2006). "A peer-based assistance program for officers with the New York City Police Department: report of the effects of Sept. 11, 2001.". Am J Psychiatry 163 (1): 151–3. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.163.1.151. PMID 16390904. 
  15. ^ Griffiths, Edward (1997). Kitch: Triumph of a Decent Man. CAB. ISBN 0620217715. 
  16. ^ Robert Everett-Green. "Goodbye sweet harmony". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-03-01. 
  17. ^ "Kristen Ann Carr Fund: Celebrity Supporters". Look to the Stars. Retrieved 2014-03-01.