The research interests of Charles Erlichman, M.D., include studying novel therapeutics in the laboratory and translating them into clinical trials. In addition, his research has focused on the development of novel therapies in the treatment of cancer, with a particular emphasis on malignancies of the gastrointestinal tract. In that capacity, Dr. Erlichman was a leader in developing a chemotherapy regimen that was proved to be effective in the treatment of colon cancer, through the execution of multicenter, multinational clinical trials.
Dr. Erlichman is a professor of oncology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and served as the chair of the Mayo Clinic Department of Oncology from 2002 to 2012 and deputy director of clinical research for the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center from 2004 through 2015.
- Dr. Erlichman's laboratory focus began with studies of inhibitors of thymidylate synthase combined with cytotoxic nucleosides. Subsequently, the lab pursued studies of topoisomerase I inhibitors and inhibitors of receptors such as EGFR and IGFR1. Studies of CI1033, an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, combined with topoisomerase I inhibitors revealed a novel mechanism of action for CI1033.
Dr. Erlichman has also studied the mechanism of action of agents targeted at heat shock protein 90 (HSP90). Geldanamycin (GA) binds to HSP90, interfering with its function and resulting in disruption of multiple signaling pathways involved in tumor growth and in cell cycle regulatory molecule actions.
Dr. Erlichman is studying the effects on downstream proteins caused by HSP90 disruption and the interaction of GA with chemotherapy. His preclinical studies, which elucidated the impact of HSP90 targeting on tumor cells, have led to phase I and phase II clinical trials of its analog, 17-AAG, alone and in combination with chemotherapy.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Erlichman has led a consortium of academic medical centers to perform phase II clinical trials of novel agents in patients with cancer. The consortium, funded by the National Cancer Institute, has tested a number of novel therapeutic agents in patients with various cancers.
He also was the principal investigator on the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center phase I grant, leading the phase I activity in the cancer center.
- Member, editorial board, Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology journal, 2013-present
- Member representing the United States, Special Emphasis Panel, NCI Experimental Therapeutics Program, National Cancer Institute of Canada, 2012-present
- Member, Investigational Drug Steering Committee, National Cancer Institute, 2005-present
- Member, Commission of Cancer, 2009-2015
- Member, Committee of Health Professionals, American Heart Association, 2009-2015