Champlin will continue to serve as chair of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy.
“Dr. Hwu is an internationally respected physician-scientist who has 25 years of experience in the fields of tumor immunology, targeted therapies and translational studies,” says Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., provost and executive vice president.
Hwu earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and served as a house officer in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He completed a fellowship in oncology at the National Cancer Institute, where he continued to work for 10 years as a principal investigator leading tumor immunology studies.
He joined MD Anderson in 2003 as the first chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology.
“Dr. Hwu and I worked closely together at the NCI for 13 years. He’s one of those rare visionaries when it comes to expanding the frontiers of cancer medicine,” says Steven A. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Tumor Immunology Section and chief of the Surgery Branch at the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research. “He’s a brilliant scientist and leader.”
An expert in tumor immunology, Hwu has translated multiple concepts from the lab to the clinic and helped to launch the field of gene modified T cells, publishing research on the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) directed against cancer. Clinical trials using CAR-transduced T cells now are being studied in many types of cancers, and MD Anderson has established an adoptive T cell therapy program, treating more than 80 melanoma patients with T cells to date.
During Hwu’s 11-year tenure as Melanoma Medical Oncology chair, the department evolved from a purely clinical group to a National Institutes of Health-funded academic program performing novel laboratory and translational clinical research. The department has grown from 40 faculty and staff to more than 120. Its peer-reviewed grant funding has increased from $200,000 to more than $6 million.