Professor W.K. Alfred Yung, MD, received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 1971, graduating summa cum laude. For his medical training, he attended the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and received his MD degree in 1975. Internship and residency training followed at the University of California, San Diego from 1975-1978, and chief residency and fellowship at Cornell University School of Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center from 1978-1981. Dr. Yung currently holds the title of Professor of Neuro-Oncology and Cancer Biology, as well as the Margaret and Ben Love Chair of Clinical Cancer Care at MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has served as Chair of the Department of Neuro-Oncology since 1999 and leads MD Anderson’s Brain Tumor SPORE. He is also Professor of Neurology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston Medical School and serves on the faculty of the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Houston. Dr. Yung is the former Editor-in-Chief of Neuro-Oncology, co-Chair of NCI’s Brain Malignancies Steering Committee, and has been named as one of the Best Doctors in America every year from 1992 to the present.
His research program at MD Anderson Cancer Center spans more than two decades and includes basic, translational, and clinical research. Along with three years of continuous funding by NCI, his work has also been funded by foundations and industry grants. His primary research interest focuses on development of molecular therapeutic strategies targeting the EGFR and PTEN/PI3 kinase pathways and the angiogenic regulatory mechanisms that are crucial to human glioma genesis and progression. The translational research effort has developed several adenoviral vectors that are capable of down-regulating TGF-α and VEGF production and angiogenesis in glioma cells. More recently, his laboratory has focused on investigating the biological activity of a series of new PTEN/PI3K pathway inhibitors in glioblastoma in vitro and in vivo models. Another research project investigates the subcellular localization of the tumor suppressor MMAC/PTEN gene and its nuclear signaling pathway.
Parallel with Dr. Yung’s laboratory research focus, is his work as principal investigator on the NCI-sponsored Brain Tumor Consortium phase I and II trials of several newly developed agents and novel combinations of targeted inhibitors designed to attack multiple involved pathways of cancer.