Richard Pestell

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Richard G. Pestell
Dr. Richard Pestell - May 2011.jpg
CitizenshipUnited States, Australia
Alma mater
Spouse(s)Anna Pestell
Scientific career
FieldsOncology, Endocrinology

Richard G. Pestell AO, FRACP, FACP, is an Australian Oncologist and Endocrinologist who is Distinguished Professor, Translational Medical Research, and the President of the Pennsylvania Cancer and Regenerative Medicine Research Center at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute.[1] He was previously Executive Vice President of Thomas Jefferson University and Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, US (2005-2015). Pestell was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours for distinguished service to medicine, and to medical education, as a researcher and physician in the fields of Endocrinology and Oncology.[2]

Education and early career[edit]

A native of Perth, Western Australia, Pestell attended Christ Church Grammar School. He attended the University of Western Australia School of Medicine, receiving his M.B.B.S..[3]

He conducted clinical training in Internal Medicine, Oncology and Endocrinology. He was awarded the Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians (FRACP) (1989). He received a Ph.D. (1991) and M.D. (1997) from the University of Melbourne. He was the recipient of both the Neal Hamilton Fairley Fellowship, and the Winthrop Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of Physicians.[4] He became a Postdoctoral Clinical and Research Fellow in Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 1991.[5]

Pestell was recruited as an Assistant Professor to the Department of Molecular Medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He became an Associate Professor, and Professor, in the Departments of Medicine and Developmental and Molecular Biology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, New York. Pestell served as Chair of the Division of Endocrine-Dependent Tumor Biology at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center.[6]

In 2002 Pestell was named Director of the Lombardi Cancer Center, the Francis L. and Charlotte Gragnani Endowed Chair, and Chairman of the Department of Oncology at the Georgetown University Medical Center.[7] During this tenure, he also served as Associate Vice President of the Georgetown University Medical Center, at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. While serving as Director of the Lombardi Cancer Center, Pestell led the effort for renewal of its National Cancer Institute designation, and founded the Capital Breast Care Center with Andrea Jung of the Avon Foundation.[8] In 2003 he was also named President of the US branch of the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research.[9]

From 2005 to 2015, Pestell was Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Executive Vice President of Thomas Jefferson University. He was the Founding Director for the Delaware Valley Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.[10] He has been an advocate for innovative research funding including being called to give testimony to the Committee on Appropriations for the United States Senate in 2009.[11]

In January 2019, Pestell was named Vice Chairman of the Board of the CytoDyn, Inc., which acquired his prior company, ProstaGene, in November 2018.[12][13] As the Chief Medical Officer, based on his preclinical studies of CCR5 he established the company’s cancer clinical trial for the use of a CCR5 inhibitor (leronlimab)[14] and FDA fast track designation in May 2019.[15] He exited CytoDyn in July 2019 and is currently member of the Wistar Institute Cancer Center Philadelphia and Blumberg Distinguished Professor.


Dr. Pestell with First Lady Laura Bush, Andrea Jung, and Kathleen Walas of Avon Products, Inc.

Pestell's work has more than 75,000 citations and an H-index of 145, i10 index 463.[16] He is ranked by Google Scholar for his areas of research including: cell cycle (#1), prostate cancer, Oncology and Breast cancer.[17]

Pestell's research has included contributions to understanding of cancer onset and progression including breast and prostate cancer.[18]

Pestell showed that nuclear receptors (estrogen, androgen and PPARγ) are acetylated, and that this event is rate-limiting in hormone signaling and growth control- thus identifying a new target for cancer therapy. His laboratory demonstrated this was a general mechanism conserved among nuclear receptors that affect diverse biological processes.[19]

In the cell cycle field, his research has shown the discovery that cyclins are direct transcriptional targets of oncogenic and tumor suppressor signals. He showed that cyclin expression is rate-limiting for oncogene-induced breast tumor growth in vivo. He has been a pioneer of the non-canonical functions of cyclins and was the first to show that cyclins regulate diverse function including miRNA biogenesis, cellular migration, mitochondrial metabolism (the Warburg effect), angiogenesis and nuclear receptor function and hormone signaling in vivo.[20]

Thirdly, Pestell defined key target genes required for breast cancer stem cell expansion in vivo including p21Cip1,[21] c-Jun, the canonical NF-κB pathway,[22] the cell fate determination pathway protein DACH1,[23] and CCR5.[24]

Finally, Pestell discovered CCR5 governs cancer metastasis[25] in both breast and prostate cancer [26] providing the potential for therapeutic targeting[27][24] with issued patents in this domain.[28] Pestell incorporated these patents into a biotechnology company he had founded (ProstaGene), that was subsequently acquired by CytoDyn.[12] Pestell subsequently initiated the company's currently active cancer treatment clinical trial initiatives targeting CCR5 receiving fast track designation in May 2019.[29]

Pestell is the founder of two biotechnology companies (ProstaGene and LightSeed) and holds patents in the areas of cancer diagnostics, therapeutics and technologies.[30]

Awards and honours[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Pestell is married to Anna Pestell and has three children. He is the great-grandson of Albert "Texas" Green, MP., Albert Green (Australian politician), Minister for Defence under the Scullin Government.[43]

In 1984 Pestell won the WA State running (5,000 meters track, 10,000 meters road) and walking championships (5,000 m, 20K and 50K).[44]

Select publications[edit]

  • Fan, S.; Wang, J.; Yuan, R.; Ma, Y.; Meng, Q.; Erdos, M.R.; Pestell, R.G.; Yuan, F.; Auborn, K.J.; Goldberg, I.D.; Rosen, E.M. (1999). "BRCA1 inhibition of estrogen receptor signaling in transfected cells". Science. 284 (5418): 1354–6. Bibcode:1999Sci...284.1354F. doi:10.1126/science.284.5418.1354. PMID 10334989.
  • Bromberg, J.F.; Wrzeszczynska, M.H.; Devgan, G.; Zhao, Y.; Pestell, R.G.; Albanese, C.; Darnell, J.E.; Jr (1999). "Stat3 as an oncogene". Cell. 98 (3): 295–303. doi:10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81959-5. PMID 10458605. S2CID 16304496.
  • Tazebay, U.H.; Wapnir, I.L.; Levy, O.; Dohan, O.; Zuckier, L.S.; Zhao, Q.H.; Deng, H.F.; Amenta, P.S.; Fineberg, S.; Pestell, R.G.; Carrasco, N. (2000). "The mammary gland iodide transporter is expressed during lactation and in breast cancer". Nat Med. 6 (8): 871–8. doi:10.1038/78630. PMID 10932223. S2CID 1002246.
  • Tanaka, H.; Matsumura, I.; Ezoe, S.; Satoh, Y.; Sakamaki, T.; Albanese, C.; Machii, T.; Pestell, R.G.; Kanakura, Y. (2002). "E2F1 and c-Myc potentiate apoptosis through inhibition of NF-κB activity that facilitates MnSOD-mediated ROS elimination". Mol Cell. 9 (5): 1017–29. doi:10.1016/s1097-2765(02)00522-1. PMID 12049738.
  • Huang, E.; Ishida, S.; Pittman, J.; Dressman, H.; Bild, A.; Kloos, M.; D'Amico, M.; Pestell, R.G.; West, M.; Nevins, J.R. (2003). "Gene expression phenotypic models that predict the activity of oncogenic pathways". Nat Genet. 34 (2): 226–30. doi:10.1038/ng1167. PMID 12754511. S2CID 85013774.
  • Genander, M.; Halford, M.M.; Xu, N.J.; Eriksson, M.; Yu, Z.; Qiu, Z.; Martling, A.; Greicius, G.; Thakar, S.; Catchpole, T.; Chumley, M.J.; Zdunek, S.; Wang, C.; Holm, T.; Goff, S.P.; Pettersson, S.; Pestell, R.G.; Henkemeyer, M.; Frisen, J. (2009). "Dissociation of EphB2 signaling pathways mediating progenitor cell proliferation and tumor suppression". Cell. 139 (4): 679–92. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.08.048. PMC 2786256. PMID 19914164.


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  15. ^ "FDA Grants CytoDyn Fast Track Designation for Leronlimab (PRO 140) in metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, an Unmet Medical Need". 7 May 2019.
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  21. ^ Liu, Manran; Casimiro, Mathew C.; Wang, Chenguang; Shirley, L. Andrew; Jiao, Xuanmao; Katiyar, Sanjay; Ju, Xiaoming; Li, Zhiping; Yu, Zuoren (2009-11-10). "p21CIP1 attenuates Ras- and c-Myc-dependent breast tumor epithelial mesenchymal transition and cancer stem cell-like gene expression in vivo". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 106 (45): 19035–19039. Bibcode:2009PNAS..10619035L. doi:10.1073/pnas.0910009106. ISSN 1091-6490. PMC 2776463. PMID 19858489.
  22. ^ Liu, Manran; Sakamaki, Toshiyuki; Casimiro, Mathew C.; Willmarth, Nicole E.; Quong, Andrew A.; Ju, Xiaoming; Ojeifo, John; Jiao, Xuanmao; Yeow, Wen-Shuz (2010-12-15). "The canonical NF-kappaB pathway governs mammary tumorigenesis in transgenic mice and tumor stem cell expansion". Cancer Research. 70 (24): 10464–10473. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-0732. ISSN 1538-7445. PMC 3010731. PMID 21159656.
  23. ^ Puntarić, D.; Hebrang, A. (September 1990). "[Analysis of the frequency, types and justification for radiographic examination based on a sample of a community population]". Lijecnicki Vjesnik. 112 (9–10): 288–293. ISSN 0024-3477. PMID 2093783.
  24. ^ a b Jiao, Xuanmao; Velasco-Velázquez, Marco A.; Wang, Min; Li, Zhiping; Rui, Hallgeir; Peck, Amy R.; Korkola, James E.; Chen, Xuelian; Xu, Shaohua (2018-04-01). "CCR5 Governs DNA Damage Repair and Breast Cancer Stem Cell Expansion". Cancer Research. 78 (7): 1657–1671. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-0915. ISSN 1538-7445. PMC 6331183. PMID 29358169.
  25. ^ Velasco-Velázquez, Marco; Jiao, Xuanmao; De La Fuente, Marisol; Pestell, Timothy G.; Ertel, Adam; Lisanti, Michael P.; Pestell, Richard G. (2012-08-01). "CCR5 antagonist blocks metastasis of basal breast cancer cells". Cancer Research. 72 (15): 3839–3850. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-3917. ISSN 1538-7445. PMID 22637726.
  26. ^ Sicoli, Daniela; Jiao, Xuanmao; Ju, Xiaoming; Velasco-Velazquez, Marco; Ertel, Adam; Addya, Sankar; Li, Zhiping; Andò, Sebastiano; Fatatis, Alessandro (2014-12-01). "CCR5 receptor antagonists block metastasis to bone of v-Src oncogene-transformed metastatic prostate cancer cell lines". Cancer Research. 74 (23): 7103–7114. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-0612. ISSN 1538-7445. PMC 4294544. PMID 25452256.
  27. ^ Velasco-Velázquez, Marco; Pestell, Richard G. (2013-04-01). "The CCL5/CCR5 axis promotes metastasis in basal breast cancer". Oncoimmunology. 2 (4): e23660. doi:10.4161/onci.23660. ISSN 2162-4011. PMC 3654591. PMID 23734321.
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  41. ^ "Jefferson 2016 NAI Induction.mp4".
  42. ^ "Komen Philadelphia hosted its More Than Pink Party Distributes Funding". 24 March 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  43. ^ "Richard G. Pestell, AO., MD, Ph.D., MBA., FACP., FRACP., Presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who's Who: Dr. Pestell has been endorsed by Marquis Who's Who as a leader in the fields of health care and education Search". Retrieved 2020-03-16.
  44. ^ Wieland, James Murray (2012). The Fat Man's Odyssey: A History of the University of Western Australia Athletic Club. Friends of the UWA Athletic Club. ISBN 9780646580951.