Gastrointestinal Biology Program

Anton Wellstein, MD, PhD
Professor of Oncology, Pharmacology & Medicine

Photo of Dr. Anton Wellstein in his lab

Dr. Wellstein is a senior investigator at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) and serves as the Director for Gastrointestinal Biology Program within the CCR. He has trained as an MD/PhD in Germany. He received training in Pharmacology (venia legendi) and held a junior faculty position (Privatdozent) at the University in Frankfurt/Main until 1987 where he worked on cardiovascular pharmacology. He joined NIH for a sabbatical to study growth factor signaling in breast cancer in the Medicine Branch of the NCI under the mentorship of Marc E. Lippman. Thereafter, he was recruited to the faculty of Georgetown University in the Departments of Pharmacology and Oncology, where he is a tenured Professor. He discovered that the receptor for pleiotrophin was ALK and also identified and defined the role of secreted binding proteins for FGF and their function in cancer and development. During the past decade, Dr. Wellstein’s work focused on tumor/stromal interaction with a particular emphasis on the function and regulation of the activity of FGFs and the pleiotrophin/ALK signaling pathways. His major interest is in mechanisms of cancer progression to invasive and metastatic disease and how that relates to therapy sensitivity and resistance. His laboratory is focused on cellular, molecular and biochemical signal transduction mechanisms utilized by cancer cells in malignant progression in vitro as well as in xenograft tumors, transgenic and in knockout animal models. He collaborates extensively with clinical colleagues in different fields that span Oncology, Nephrology and Immunology as well as basic science. He has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers, is named as an inventor on 10 patents and has been continuously funded by the NIH since his initial faculty appointment at Georgetown University. He is a co-leader in the Experimental Therapeutics Program of the LCCC and has been teaching Cancer Pharmacology in the Medical School since 1990.