Scott Antonia, MD, PhD, who joined Duke on Monday, Feb. 25, has been appointed director of the newly formed DCI Center for Cancer Immunotherapy, a DCI Strategic Plan priority that aims to enhance the institute’s ability to develop and test novel immunotherapeutic approaches. In addition to his leadership role, Antonia will have a clinical focus in the DCI Thoracic Oncology disease group as professor of Medical Oncology.
After completing his medical oncology training and post-doctoral fellowship in the Flavell Lab at the Yale University School of Medicine, he joined H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in 1994. There, for the past seven years, he served as chairman of the Department of Thoracic Oncology where he had oversight of a multidisciplinary clinic that saw 1,400 new lung cancer patients each year. He also built an active lung cancer clinical research program that resulted in 225 patients accrued to therapeutic clinical trials each year; half of which were investigator initiated trials (IITs), the majority being immunotherapy-focused. While at Moffitt Cancer Center Antonia was recognized as Physician of the Year (2005), Mentor of the Year (2008), and Researcher of the Year (2018).
Antonia is recognized as a global leader in the development of immunotherapy for lung cancer. He served as the global principal investigator for the practice-changing Pacific study, which established, as the new global standard of care, anti-PDL1 as consolidative therapy after combined chemo-radiation therapy for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer. He was also the lead investigator of trials that established the clinical activity of immunotherapy for small cell lung cancer, resulting in the inclusion of this modality in the NCCN guidelines.
For the past 10 years, Antonia served on the Administrative Core of the U54-funded academic partnership between the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico and Moffitt Cancer Center. He is currently the principal investigator of another multi-project, multi-institution grant funded by the Stand Up to Cancer organization (Tumor infiltrating lymphocyte adoptive T cell therapy for NSCLC). He is also the PI on an R01, and a recently awarded U01 from the NCI.
For 25 years at Moffitt Cancer Center, Antonia directed a translational research program that’s overall goal is to develop immunotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer patients; using tumor vaccines or adoptive T cell therapies in combination with immunomodulatory strategies designed to thwart the immunosuppressive mechanisms used by tumors to evade T cell mediated rejection. He has extensive experience in conducting early-phase, first-in-man clinical trials testing therapeutic tumor vaccines and immunomodulatory antibodies. The latter includes anti-CTLA.4 (tremelimumab), an activating anti-CD40 antibody, and anti-PD1/PD-L1.