David S. Alberts, M.D.

Regents Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, and Public Health
  • University of Virginia School of Medicine, 1966 (M.D.)
  • University of Wisconsin, 1966-1967 (Internship)
  • University of Minnesota, 1969-1971 (Residency)
  • University of California San Francisco, 1972-1974, PMA Faculty Trainee in Clinical Pharmacology
Honors and Awards: 
-Faculty Training Grant in Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PMA), 1972-1974
-Chairman, Oncologic Advisory Committee, U.S. FDA, 1982-1984
-Chairman, Gynecology Committee, Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), 1977-2001
-Chairman, Cancer Prevention and Control Committee, Gynecologic Oncology Group, 1995-present
-Co-Editor-in-Chief, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 1997-present
-Board of Scientific Advisors, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 1999-2003
-Associate Dean for Research, 1996
-ASPO Distinguished Achievement Award for Lifetime Outstanding Achievements in Cancer Prevention Research
-AACR Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research, 2004
-Former Director, Cancer Prevention and Control, Arizona Cancer Center
David S. Alberts, MD, has had a strong career focus on translational cancer prevention and treatment research. The emphasis of his laboratory-based and clinical research has been on the chemoprevention and treatment of such pervasive and potentially deadly diseases as cancers of the breast, colon, ovary, and skin. Clinically, Dr. Alberts pioneered new treatments for advanced ovarian cancers, including in vitro tumor cell chemosensitivity testing for personalized medicine strategies, intraperitoneal chemotherapy, and maintenance chemotherapy. Presently, Dr. Alberts helps to coordinate Phase I and II and pharmacokinetic drug studies at the Arizona Cancer Center for molecularly-targeted chemopreventive agents and anticancer drugs. His laboratory research is concentrated on the evaluation of new early detection and response surrogate endpoint biomarkers for cancer prevention trials with a special focus on precursor lesions for bladder, breast, colon, cervical, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers, using quantitative histopathology (i.e. karyometric) approaches. Dr. Alberts has authored or co-authored over 499 peer reviewed publications, more than 100 book chapters and 60 invited articles, and has served as Editor and Co-Editor of six books (e.g. Fundamentals of Cancer Prevention, Second Edition, Springer Verlag, 2009 and Intraperitoneal Therapy for Ovarian Cancer, Springer Verlag, 2010). He has served on the editorial boards of several peer-reviewed scientific journals including Associate Editor for Cancer Research from 1989-2002. Between 2002 and 2008, he acted as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, the leading cancer public health research journal worldwide. Dr. Alberts received his MD in 1966 from University of Virginia School of Medicine. He conducted his internship at the University of Wisconsin, before becoming a Clinical Associate in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute’s Baltimore Cancer Research Center. Dr. Alberts conducted his internal medicine residency at the University of Minnesota and then served on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, for five years and obtained Board certification in Medicine and Medical Oncology in 1973. He joined the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 1975 as an Assistant Professor, where he has served for over 35 years. Dr. Alberts is currently Regents Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Nutritional Science, and Public Health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and Director of the Arizona Cancer Center. During his career, Dr. Alberts has served as an advisor to numerous cancer research foundations and committees, such as Chair of the Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee to the FDA (1984-1986), and was a member of the NCI's Board of Counselors (to the Division of Cancer Prevention, 1990-1994), the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors (1999-2006), and on the NCI’s coordinating subcommittee to the Clinical Translational Advisory Committee (1999-2006). In June 2001, he was acknowledged by the journal, Science to be one of the top three National Institutes of Health-funded clinical researchers in the United States. In 2003, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) recognized his contributions to clinical care in the field of cancer with the Joseph H. Burchenal Clinical Research Award, and in 2004, the American Society for Preventive Oncology gave him its Distinguished Career Award for research excellence. Also in 2004, the AACR awarded Dr. Alberts with its AACR-Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention Research Worldwide. More recently, in 2010, he was given the American Association for Community Cancer Center’s (AACCC) annual Clinical Research Award and was also elected to the Board of Director’s for the American Association of Cancer Institutes (AACI). 
Major Areas of Research Interest: 
-Chemoprevention of breast, colon, cervix, prostate, and skin cancers
-Novel anti-cancer and chemoprevention drug development
-Development, validation and testing of endpoint biomarkers for chemoprevention with special emphasis on quantitative histopathology using machine vision
-Development of new anticancer and cancer chemopreventive agents
-Clinical trials in cancer prevention and treatment of gynecologic and skin cancers
-In vitro biomarkers of cancer risk, including biochemical, molecular/genetic and immunohistochemical
Research Activities: 
1. Clinical participation in cancer prevention studies, including those involving patients with pre-neoplastic lesions of the skin, breast, colon and prostate randomized to various intervention strategies, including dietary change and chemoprevention agents. Cancer prevention clinics are within one mile of the Arizona Health Sciences Center.
2. Involvement in laboratory-based research projects related to the evaluation of surrogate endpoint biomarkers in the setting of cancer chemoprevention studies, including in vitro evaluation of biomarkers and cellular proliferation, differentiation, biochemical metabolism, gene expression, apoptosis and morphometry. Students will have an opportunity to work alongside research staff and to develop their own projects.
3. In vitro screening of anti-cancer drugs and chemoprevention agents in human cell models. Students will learn basic elements of tissue culture and in vitro anti-cancer drug and chemoprevention agent pharmacology. The student will have an opportunity to work alongside research staff and to develop their own projects.
Selected Publications: 
Martinez ME, JA Baron, DA Lieberman, A Schatzkin, L Lanza, SJ Winawer, AG Zauber, R Jiang, DJ Ahnen, JH Bond, TR Church, D Robertson, S Smith-Warner, ET Jacobs, D Alberts, ER Greenberg: Advanced colorectal neoplasia diagnosed during surveillance following colonoscopic polypectomy: A pooled analysis. Am J Epidemiol, 169:657-666, 2009.

Martinez ME, JA Baron, DA Lieberman, A Schatzkin, E Lanza, SJ Winawer, AG Zauber, R Jiang, DJ Ahnen, JH Bond, TR Church, DJ Robertson, SA Smith-Warner, ET Jacobs, DS Alberts, ER Greenberg: A pooled analysis of advanced colorectal neoplasia diagnoses following colonoscopic polypectomy. Gastroenterology, 136(3):832-841, 2009.

Wertheim BC, MEMartinez, EL Ashbeck, DJ Roe, ET Jacobs, D Alberts, PAThompson: Physical activity as a determinant of fecal bile acid levels. Can Epi, Biom & Prev, 18(5), 1591-1598, 2009.

Markman M, J Moon, S Wilczynski, AM Lopez, KM Rowland Jr, DP Michelin, VJ Lanzotti, GL Anderson, DS Alberts: Single agent carboplatin versus carboplatin plus pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in recurrent ovarian cancer: Final survival results of a SWOG (S0200) Phase 3 randomized Trial. Gyn Oncol, 116:323-325, 2010.

Thomson CA, DS Alberts: Diet and survival after ovarian cancer: Where are we and what’s next? J Amer Dietetic Assn, 110: 3, 2010. PMID: 20184986

Hostetter G, S Kim, S Savage, G Gooden, L Alla, M Barrett, J Zhang, A Watanabe, J Einspahr, D Alberts, A Prasad, B Nickoloff, J Carpten, J Trent, M Bittner: Random DNA fragmentation allows detection of single-copy, single-exon alterations of copy number by oligonucleotide array CGH in clinical FFPE samples. Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Feb;38(2):e9. PMCID: PMC2811007.

Olson ER, T Melton, SE Dickinson, Z Dong, DS Alberts, GT Bowden: Quercetin potentiates UVB-induced c-Fos expression: Implications for its use as a chemopreventive agent. Cancer Prev Res; 3(7), 876-884, 2010.

Chow, HH, L Garland, CH Hsu, DR Vining, WM Chew, JA Miller, M Perloff, JA Crowell, DS Alberts: Resveratrol modulates drug and carcinogen metabolizing enzymes in a healthy volunteer study. Cancer Prevention Research 3(9) 1168-1175, 2010.

Sekulic A, SY Kim, G Hostetter, S Savage, JG Einspahr, A Prasad, P Sagerman, DS Alberts, MR Pittelkow, D DiCaudo, B Nickoloff, JM Trent, M Bittner: Loss of inositol polyphosphate-5-phosphatase is an early event in development of Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer Prev Res, 1277-1283, 2010.

Chambers SK, MC Clouser, AF Baker, DJ Roe, H Cui, MA Brewer, KD Hatch, MS Gordon, MF Janicek, JD Isaacs, AN Gordon, RB Nagle, HM Wright, JL Cohen, DS Alberts: Overexpression of tumor vascular endothelial growth factor A may portend an increased likelihood of progression in a phase II trial of bevacizumab and erlotinib in resistant ovarian cancer. Clin Cancer Res, 16(21):5320-5328, 2010.

Hess LM, SK Chambers, K Hatch, A Hallum, MF Janicek, J Buscema, M Borst, C Johnson, L Slayton, Y Chongpison, DS Alberts: Pilot study of the prospective identification of changes in cognitive function during chemotherapy treatment for advanced ovarian cancer. J of Supportive Oncology, 8(6), 252-258, 2011.
Sponsored Research Through MSRP: 
Rebecca Wood (AHA Fellowship 1986-1987): “Cardiac myocyte toxicity: A model for screening antitumor agents” and “Retionic acid decreases expression of proteolytic enzymes and thereby inhibits tumor cell invasion”.
Joshua Walsh (MSRP 1998): “The role of the HIV-1 vpu gene in maternal-fetal transmission.
Yebebe “Bobby” Mengesha (MSRP 1998): “Molecular genetic studies of chromosome #1 abnormalities in melanoma characterization of differentially expressed genes.”
Airley Fish (MSRP 2000): “Phase II study of the effects of selenium on Celecoxib plasma levels.”
Thanh Nguyen (MSRP 2000): “COX-2 expression as a biomarker for skin carcinogenesis.”
Charles Gawad (MSRP 2001, 2003): “Patterns of gene expression in normal/AK/SCC skin samples that can be altered by chemoprevention agents.”
Amy Curtis (MSRP 2002, 2003): “Apoptosis in benign and dysplastic nevi.”
Nellie Nafissi (MSRP 2014): "Nuclear Morphometry of Pancreatic Tissue Differentiates Intraductal Papillary Mucinous Neoplasm and Pancreatic Carcinoma"
Laura Bricklin (MSRP 2015): "Building a Progression Curve of Esophageal Carcinogenesis using Karyometric Analysis to Quantitate Progressive Abnormalities in Nuclear Chromatin Structure"
Melody Maarouf (MSRP 2015): "Karyometry Identifies Patients with Thin Melanoma who are at Risk for Metastases"
Samantha Russell (MSRP 2016): "Karyometry in Fallopian Tube Epithelium to Assess Ovarian Cancer Risk."
Ravina Thuraisingam (MSRP 2016) "Role of Physical Activity and Social Isolation in Health Outcomes in Native American Cancer Survivors"
NIH High School Student Research Program: 
-Chris Francis, Flowing Wells High School, 1997, 1998
-Antonio Samaniego, Amphitheater High School, 2009
-Luz Orduno, Catalina Magnet High School, 2011
NIH K-12 Science Teacher Program: 
-June de los Santos-Torreros, Maxwell Middle School, 2004
Monday, May 22, 2017