Donald M Miller, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Miller is the Director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center.  Under his leadership since 1999, the James Graham Brown Cancer Center has experienced a period of remarkable growth in both its clinical and research programs. Strong multidisciplinary clinical programs have been developed, providing a team-focused approach to cancer care for the citizens of Kentucky.  Dr. Miller’s strategic plan has placed heavy emphasis on investigational areas that will lead to new approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This emphasis on translation is paying off. Cancer Center scientists have several novel cancer treatments in early phase cancer trials with more than a dozen others in preclinical stages as well as several new technologies to detect early stage cancers and prevent cancer-related fatalities. Remarkably, cancer research grants have grown from less than $1 million in 1999 to more than $40 million in 2014.

Under Dr. Miller's leadership, the growth of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center has been made possible with the development of the Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund, commonly known as “Bucks for Brains”, and support by the James Graham Brown Foundation, the Humana Foundation and the Kentucky Lung Cancer Research Fund.  This has resulted in nationally recognized research programs that are having a direct impact on cancer patients in Kentucky.

Dr. Miller’s laboratory group was the first to describe modulation of transcription of several cancer related genes by DNA binding drugs and, subsequently, by triple helical DNA.  For the past fifteen years his group has focused on quadruplex-forming oligonucleotides as aptamer therapy for a variety of tumors.  One of the aptamers discovered in Dr. Miller’s laboratory, AS1411, has undergone clinical trial testing and several patients are alive today as a result of their participation. Dr. Miller has also been interested in cancer cell metabolism and he and his collaborators have just completed the first in human study of lung cancer metabolomics.  His clinical focus is on curing high-risk melanoma patients before they develop distant metastases using a combination of the cytotoxic chemotherapy, dacarbazine, and the immunotherapy, interleukin 2. Importantly, Dr. Miller has been continuously funded for the last twelve years by a Molecular Targets Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant that has exceeded $30M to train new cancer researchers at the University of Louisville.

Dr. Miller's leadership and administrative skills are exemplified by his selection as Chair of the NIH Hematology II Study Section, Chair of the VA Oncology Merit Review Study Section, President of the Southern Society of Clinical Oncology and a Member of the IOM Committee to advise the DOD on the investment of breast cancer research funding.