Alex A. Adjei, M.D., Ph.D., is a medical oncologist at Mayo Clinic whose research includes drug development, regulatory science and early-phase clinical trials. Dr. Adjei works to bring promising new compounds from the laboratory to initial human testing and to ultimately gain regulatory approval for their use in patients. Dr Adjei's research also focuses on health disparities, global oncology, new drug treatments for lung cancer, and understanding how different patients are affected by drug toxicities.
- Experimental therapeutics and clinical drug development. Dr. Adjei leads a multidisciplinary team of clinical and translational researchers across the three Mayo Clinic sites that evaluates new drug therapies for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. He also leads Mayo Clinic's role in the National Cancer Institute's Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network.
- Oncolytic virotherapy for solid tumors. Dr Adjei and colleagues in molecular medicine are working with the pharmaceutical company Vyriad to develop oncolytic viruses for solid tumors. In the clinic, the team is studying the vesicular stomatitis virus in combination with immunotherapy for solid tumors. In the laboratory, Dr. Adjei is working with Autumn J. Schulze, Ph.D., and Stephen J. Russell, M.D., Ph.D., to develop a naked RNA that can assemble in cancer cells into intact Coxsackie A virus for cancer treatment.
- Metastatic endometrial cancer. Dr Adjei works with colleagues Jamie N. Bakkum-Gamez, M.D., and Kah Whye Peng, Ph.D., who lead an investigation of vesicular stomatitis virus to treat metastatic endometrial cancer. Preclinical experiments have shown that this virus is potent against endometrial cancer, and a phase 1 trial of intravenous vesicular stomatitis virus is under development.
- Novel therapies for lung cancer. Dr. Adjei and colleagues across all three Mayo Clinic sites are developing novel treatments for non-small cell lung cancer with new targeted therapies and immunotherapy drugs.
- Health disparities. Dr. Adjei has worked for more than a decade on improving the representation of underserved populations in clinical trials. His focus has been on training investigators from diverse groups in clinical research, with the goal of improving representation in clinical trials by establishing a diverse health care team.
Significance to patient care
While there have been significant advances in cancer care, few patients are cured and they often eventually run out of treatment options. Dr Adjei's research focus on bringing promising new drugs into the clinic affects patients directly by providing options and giving hope. More importantly, it is through such research that cancer becomes a chronic disease for which patients have multiple medications to control their cancer. Dr. Adjei's ultimate goal is that cancer is no longer a death sentence.
- Member, Board of Scientific Counselors, National Cancer Institute, 2021-present
- Faculty coordinator, Developmental Therapeutics Faculty Group, European Society for Medical Oncology, 2020-present
- Member, Gender Medicine Task Force, European Society for Medical Oncology, 2020-present
- Member, Task Force on Precision Combination Therapies, American Association for Cancer Research, 2020-present
- Member, Women in Oncology Committee, European Society for Medical Oncology, 2020-present
- Co-leader, Experimental Therapeutics Program, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, 2016-present
- Co-chair, Thoracic Malignancies Steering Committee, National Cancer Institute, 2015-present
- Member, Committee on Diagnosing and Treating Adult Cancers, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2019-2021
- Recipient, Adi F. Gazdar Merit Award for distinguished service in lung cancer, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, 2020