Dr. Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso, is an Endowed Professor of Cell Biology and founding Director of the Cancer Dormancy and Tumor Microenvironment Institute at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center. He is also President of the Metastasis Research Society and has served at several leadership levels at AACR. He received his PhD from the University of Buenos Aires and completed his post-doctoral training at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
His work focuses on understanding the biology of residual cancer cells that persist in a dormant state after initial therapy. His research team led, along with others, a paradigm shift, revealing novel cancer biology that diverges from the notion that cancer is perpetually proliferating. His work has been published in top tier journals such as Nature, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Cancer, Science and Cancer Cell among others. His team discovered that reciprocal crosstalk between disseminated tumor cells and the microenvironment regulates the inter-conversion between dormancy and proliferation of metastasis. His lab has also provided mechanistic advances to the understanding of the process of early dissemination in breast cancer and how it contributes to dormancy and metastatic progression. His wok also has mechanistically explored how adaptive pathways such as the unfolded protein response allow cancer cells to persist while quiescent. This knowledge enables targeting residual cancer before it becomes clinically detectable and thus preventing recurrences. This approach led him to found a startup company, HiberCell, that is conducting clinical trials and further drug development born from his vision. His research, which has been applied in clinical studies, is revealing ways to maintain residual cancer dormancy, kill dormant cancer cells, and utilize markers to determine the dormant or active state of disseminated cancer cells.