Department of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh

John M. Kirkwood, MD

photo

Usher Professor of Medicine, Dermatology & Translational Science

Director, Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program

Office: 5117 Centre Avenue
Suite 1.32
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
 
Phone: 412-623-7707
Fax: 412-623-7704
E-mail: kirkwoodjm@upmc.edu
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Education
Biochemistry, Oberlin College, 1969
Immunology, Memorial Sloan Kettering, 1969
MD, Yale University, 1973
Pathology, Yale University, 1973

Training
Intern, Medicine, Yale-New Haven Hospital, 1974
Resident, Medicine, Yale-New Haven Hospital, 1976
Postdoctoral-Fellowship, Harvard University, 1978

Area of Specialization/Research Interest  
Melanoma
 

Profile
Dr. Kirkwood received his medical degree in 1973 from Yale University and completed postgraduate work at Yale-New Haven Hospital and then Harvard University and Dana-Farber Cancer Center. After forming the Yale Melanoma Unit he joined the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute in 1986 as Founding Associate Director and Chief of Medical Oncology, and the Director of the Melanoma Center. He has been Professor of Medicine, Dermatology, and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Senior Investigator for the University in ECOG, as well as Chairman of the Melanoma Committee of ECOG-ACRIN. He is also the Chairman of the International Melanoma Working Group founded with the Aim at Melanoma foundation in 2006. He has been the Principal Investigator of the Specialized Program of Research Excellence in Melanoma and Skin Cancer since 2008.

Dr. Kirkwood’s research has focused on melanoma, a cancer that afflicts 60,000 and kills more than 8,000 in the United States each year. Under Dr. Kirkwood’s direction, the Melanoma Center has developed new and effective treatment approaches for this disease. He has received international acclaim for leading a multicenter study developed on the basis of his pioneering work with immunomodulators for melanoma that provided the first FDA-approved adjuvant therapy of melanoma in 1996. He has led more than 160 trials over the past 25 years evaluating cytotoxic, molecular, and immunomodulator therapies including vaccines for metastatic and high-risk melanoma. His research has focused upon the analysis of the molecular and immunologic basis of melanoma progression, in studies that have focused upon advanced and adjuvant disease therapy, using novel designs including the first neoadjuvant applications of IFN and ipilimumab. He has developed prognostic and predictive biomarkers that may allow us to refine application of existing and novel therapies.

Dr. Kirkwood has is leading a number of highly promising clinical trials with cancer vaccines, using biological response modifiers, to spur the body’s own immune system to recognize and destroy melanoma. Since his appointment as Director of the Melanoma Center, he has been pursuing translational investigations of immunotherapies and molecularly targeted agents, alone and in combination with one another. Phase I-II and III studies of cytokines, IFNs, antibodies and vaccines have systematically evaluated therapeutic mechanisms and the induction of antitumor and autoimmunity and the use of neoadjuvant trial designs has identified the importance of STAT signaling and immune cell infiltrates as markers of IFN and anti-CTLA4 blocking antibody efficacy, to accelerate progress from phase I-II into phase III national and international studies, and to refine and optimize application of available agents on the basis of these translational studies in human melanoma
Dr. Kirkwood conducts laboratory research on the molecular and biological changes in atypical nevi, as non-obligate precursors and risk markers of melanoma. These studies seek to providing means for earlier detection and prevention of this cancer.

Lab Personnel and Web page
Cindy Sander, BS, MT, ASCP and Yan Lin, MS
Research Link
Melanoma Program
View Research Webpage

Recent Grants
Title: ECOG Prevention Member
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount: $57,130
Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute
Start Year: 2013
End Year: 2016
Title: SPORE in Skin Cancer
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount: $2,150,500
Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute
Start Year: 2013
End Year: 2018
Title: Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Melanoma Committee
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount: $13,682
Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute
Start Year: 2013
End Year: 2014
Title: University of Pittsburgh 2007 Health Research Formula Grant
Role: Co-Investigator
Amount: $358,839
Funding Agency: Pennsylvania Dept. of Health
Start Year: 2013
End Year: 2016
Title: Comparative Study of Detecting Melanoma Oncogenic Mutations
Role: Co-Investigator
Amount: $42,484
Funding Agency: Transgenomic Inc: ICEE COLD-PCR
Start Year: 2012
End Year: 2014
Title: Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Main Institution
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount: $221,005
Funding Agency: National Institute of Health
Start Year: 2012
End Year: 2016
Title: Advancing Staging and Prognosis in Early Stage Melanoma: Intregation of Clinicopathologic and Molecular Factors
Role: Co-Investigator
Amount: $21,000
Funding Agency: University of Texas Anderson: MRA
Start Year: 2011
End Year: 2014
Title: Pilot Clinical-Pathological and Molecular Analysis of Atypical Nevi in Response to BSE-L-Sulforaphane
Role: Principal Investigator
Amount: $165,844
Funding Agency: NIH
Start Year: 2011
End Year: 2014
Title: Optimization of Melanoma Vaccines with T-Helper Epitopes
Role: Co-Investigator
Amount: $271,233
Funding Agency:
Start Year: 2011
End Year: 2014
Title: Cancer Center Support Grant
Role: Co-Investigator
Amount: $16,892
Funding Agency: National Institute of Health
Start Year: 2011
End Year: 2015

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications
Title: Phase III trial of carboplatin and paclitaxel with or without sorafenib in metastatic melanoma.
Author(s): Flaherty KT, Lee SJ, Zhao F, Schuchter LM, Flaherty L, Kefford R, Atkins MB, Leming P, Kirkwood JM
Year: 2013
Journal: J Clin Oncol
Volume: 31
Page(s): 373-9
Title: Phase III randomized clinical trial comparing tremelimumab with standard-of-care chemotherapy in patients with advanced melanoma.
Author(s): Ribas A, Kefford R, Marshall MA, Punt CJ, Haanen JB, Marmol M, Garbe C, Gogas H, Schachter J
Year: 2013
Journal: J Clin Oncol
Volume: 31
Page(s): 616-22
Title: Safety and efficacy of decitabine in combination with temozolomide in metastatic melanoma: a phase I/II study and pharmacokinetic analysis.
Author(s): Tawbi HA, Beumer JH, Tarhini AA, Moschos S, Buch SC, Egorin MJ, Lin Y, Christner S, Kirkwood JM
Year: 2013
Journal: Ann Oncol
Volume: Epub
Page(s): 1112-9
Title: The Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer consensus statement on tumour immunotherapy for the treatment of cutaneous melanoma.
Author(s): Kaufman HL, Kirkwood JM,, Hodi FS,, Agarwala S, Amatruda T, Bines SD,, Clark JI, Curti B,, Ernstoff MS
Year: 2013
Journal: Nat Rev Clin Oncol.
Volume: doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2013.153.
Page(s):
Title: Targeted therapies: BREAKing a path for progress--dabrafenib confirms class effect.
Author(s): Tawbi HA, Kirkwood JM
Year: 2012
Journal: Nat Rev Clin Oncol
Volume: 9
Page(s): 496-7
Title: Safety and efficacy of combination immunotherapy with interferon alfa-2b and tremelimumab in patients with stage IV melanoma.
Author(s): Tarhini AA, Cherian J, Moschos SJ, Tawbi HA, Shuai Y, Gooding WE, Sander C, Kirkwood JM
Year: 2012
Journal: J Clin Oncol
Volume: 20
Page(s): 322-8
Title: Immunotherapy of cancer in 2012.
Author(s): Kirkwood JM, Butterfield LH, Tarhini AA, Zarour H, Kalinski P, Ferrone S
Year: 2012
Journal: CA Cancer J Clin
Volume: 62
Page(s): 309-35
Title: How much of a good thing? What duration for interferon alfa-2b adjuvant therapy?
Author(s): Tarhini AA, Kirkwood JM
Year: 2012
Journal: J Clin Oncol
Volume: 30
Page(s): 3773-6
Title: Dabrafenib in patients with Val600Glu or Val600Lys BRAF-mutant melanoma metastatic to the brain (BREAK-MB): a multicentre, open-label, phase 2 trial.
Author(s): Long GV, Trefzer U, Davies MA, Keffor RF, Ascierto PA, Chapman PB, Puzano I, Hauschild A, Robert C
Year: 2012
Journal: Lancet Oncol
Volume: 13
Page(s): 1087-95
Title: Improved survival with vemurafenib in melanoma with BRAF V600E mutation. T
Author(s): Chapman PB, Hauschild A, Robert C, Haanen JB, Ascierto P, Larkin J, Dummer R, Garbe C, Testori A
Year: 2011
Journal: N Eng J Med
Volume: 364
Page(s): 2507-16
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