Jason Chesney, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Chesney has served as the Deputy Director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center since early 2012.  He works closely with the Director, Donald Miller, M.D., Ph.D., to lead the clinical and research operations of the Cancer Center including the coordination of the multidisciplinary cancer clinics, cancer trials and scientific programs.  In addition to serving as Deputy Director, he is Director of the Clinical Research Program and Biorepository, Chairperson of the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee and Co-Leader of the Molecular Targets Program.

Dr. Chesney was a Principal Investigator on several cancer trials that resulted in the FDA approval of ipilimumab, the first drug to show an improvement in the overall survival of metastatic melanoma patients.  The positive results of these studies led to new cancer trials that are available at the Cancer Center testing combinations of ipilimumab with other immunotherapies. In 2014, Dr. Chesney’s clinical research team and a second team from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center were the top two clinical groups worldwide to find that the combination of ipilimumab with another immune checkpoint inhibitor, nivolumab, was the most effective immunotherapy regimen ever developed for cancer patients. Dr. Chesney was recently designated as a U.S. News and World Report Top Doctor for Solid Tumors and Cancer Trials.

Dr. Chesney is funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program and the National Center for Research Resources to develop novel experimental therapeutics for the treatment of cancer.   He is an inventor on nine U.S. patents for new cancer therapies and his laboratory research has resulted in two phase 1 cancer trials of novel cancer drugs that are currently available to advanced cancer patients, including PFK-158 (clinicaltrials.gov #NCT02044861) and Anti-Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Antibody (#NCT01765790).  His group is currently testing the ability of PFK-158 to overcome the intrinsic and acquired resistance of cancer cells to multiple targeted, immunotherapeutic and radiation therapies including BRAF inhibitors for melanoma patients (vemurafenib), EGFR inhibitors for lung cancer patients (erlotinib), anti-estrogen agents for breast cancer patients (fulvestrant) and anti-CTLA4 antibodies for all types of cancer (ipilimumab).

Since 2010, Dr. Chesney has been a Reviewer on the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Specialized Programs in Research Excellence (SPORE) Study Section and recently has served as a Discussion Leader and Co-Chair.   He also is a Standing Member on the NCI’s Tumor Cell Biology Study Section and thus functions to not only review large SPORE Clinical and Translational Program Project grants but also basic laboratory science R21 and R01 grants focused on cancer.  In 2015, he was selected to serve as an On-Site Reviewer of P30 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers throughout the United States.