Dr. Stephen Russell graduated in Medicine from Edinburgh University, Scotland, with distinctions in microbiology and surgery. He later earned his PhD at the University of London after researching the retroviral/parvoviral transfer of interleukin genes to cancer cells as a novel approach to immunotherapy, which led to a clinical gene therapy trial at Marsden Hospital, England. Dr. Russell held appointments at hospitals throughout England and Scotland, before moving to the states to join the Mayo Clinic. In addition to his role as Chair of the Department of Molecular Medicine Program, he holds the Richard O Jacobsen chair of Molecular Medicine and serves as consultant to the Department of Hematology. His research interests include engineering viral tropisms, evading antiviral immune responses and the development of new methods for noninvasive in vivo monitoring of gene expression. His long-term research aim is to develop injectable gene therapy vectors for the treatment of disseminated malignancies, particularly multiple myeloma, and demonstrate their efficacy in clinical trials.
Quote: “Many genetically engineered viruses have been shown to destroy tumors in mice. There is therefore no question that they will eventually prove to be useful in the treatment of human cancer. Our current challenge is to understand the barriers to success that are absent in tumor-bearing mice but present in cancer patients, and to devise new treatment strategies to address them.”