Ian F. Pollack, MD
Dr. Ian Pollack is the Walter Dandy Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) Brain Tumor Program, and Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. His laboratory has defined the contribution of platelet-like growth factor receptor (PDGFR), protein kinase C (PKC), and Ras to the growth of malignant glial tumors, and has translated these observations into preclinical and clinical studies designed to target the signaling pathways that drive glioma cell proliferation. These include the first pediatric neuro-oncology trials of PKC inhibition and of PDGFR blockade as therapeutic strategies. An ongoing program project grant is focused on translating novel therapeutic approaches into clinically applicable strategies for patients with malignant brain tumors. His laboratory has also demonstrated the contribution of molecular abnormalities to treatment response in childhood brain tumors, and was the first to identify an adverse association between p53 pathway alterations and outcome in pediatric gliomas. He has also initiated preclinical studies of immunomodulatory therapies for malignant gliomas that have been translated into clinical trials. These include the first study involving cytokine gene-transduced autologous glioma vaccine therapy. Because several patients enrolled on the study have exhibited dramatic tumor regression, this work has formed a foundation for subsequent clinical trials that are being developed within the UPCI Brain Tumor Program.