American Health Council Names Mark R. Kelley, PhD to Education Board

New York, New York – Dr. Mark R. Kelley, Betty and Earl Herr Professor of Pediatric Oncology Research/ Professor of Pediatrics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology & Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Indiana University School of Medicine has been selected to join the Education Board at the American Health Council. He will be sharing his knowledge and expertise on Redox Signaling Biology, DNA repair and Cancer Drug Development.

With over three decades of experience in the field of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Dr. Kelley offers valuable insight in his numerous scientific, academic and mentoring roles. Recognized as a national leader in medical research and education, the Indiana University School of Medicine is composed of over sixty academic departments and specialty divisions across nine campuses statewide and maintains a strong clinical partnership with Indiana’s most advanced hospitals and physician networks. IU School of Medicine is focused on transforming the quality of healthcare through quality, innovative and education to make Indiana the nation’s healthiest state.

As a faculty member of the Indiana University School of Medicine for over twenty-four years, Dr. Kelley’s day-to-day responsibilities include directing basic and translational research in adult and pediatric oncology, administrative duties as the Associate Director of Basic Science Research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center (IUSCC), Associate Director of the Wells Center for Pediatric Research and Director of Pediatric Molecular Oncology and Experimental Therapeutics. Additionally, he mentors graduate students, interns, medical fellows and post doctorates. Dr. Kelley’s lab focuses on a critical and novel cancer signaling node, APE1/Ref-1, and moving findings using his biotech start-up, Apexian Pharmaceuticals, to advance his findings and small molecules to the clinic. The first ever clinical trials targeting APE1/Ref-1 will initiate soon.

Since joining the Department of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine, Dr. Kelley’s work has focused on translational research in redox signaling and DNA damage and repair, specifically, to determine how those activities can be exploited therapeutically to treat cancers and protect normal cells from oxidative and DNA base damage. DNA’s integrity faces threats from both endogenous agents (intracellular oxidation, alkylation, and ROS) and exogenous agents, including environmental mutagens and anticancer therapeutics.

His research has focused specifically on the enzyme apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1/ Redox effector factor-1 (APE1/Ref-1)—mechanistically as well as a therapeutic target in cancers and other diseases that manifest cancer-like properties and are dependent on downstream targets of APE1/Ref-1. APE1/Ref-1 is unique to the base excision repair (BER) pathway, with dual repair and redox signaling functions that are crucial to cancer viability. Dr. Kelley’s laboratory has led the field to tease apart those functions, not only to fully characterize them, but to determine how to manipulate each function individually for therapeutic benefit.

Dr. Kelley discovered and began developing a redox-specific inhibitor of Ref-1, as well as second-generation analogs that are currently under further investigation. This original work was the impetus for becoming Chief Scientific Officer and Founder of Apexian Pharmaceuticals, an integrated drug development company that’s leveraging the APE1/Ref-1 target platform to produce new therapeutics for some of the deadliest and hardest-to-treat cancers. Apexian Pharmaceutical recently submitted and received from the FDA a treatment IND for a new drug that targets Ref-1; its potential indications include ovarian, colon, pancreatic, as well as other adult and pediatric cancers such as leukemia and sarcomas. Furthermore, he is exploring APE1/Ref-1 and BER for mechanistic and therapeutic opportunities in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN).

Dr. Kelley has utilized his various academic appointments as an opportunity for fast-tracking collaboration and translational research to find more effective cancer treatments. In his role as an Associate Director of both the Wells Center for Pediatric Research and IUSCC, Dr. Kelley equips the next generation of researchers by training and mentoring junior faculty members, post doctorates, fellows, MD students and others. He initiated a program in the IUSCC called ITRAC (IUSCC Translational Research Acceleration Collaboration) which allows for project benchmarking, facilitating collaboration between researchers, mentoring and project management approaches for guiding pilot funding. Additionally, ITRAC is used to evaluate resources of the IUSCC to facilitate cancer center members research and as a steward of cancer center resources. This process has been very successful in generating support for cancer center members allowing them to parlay this internal support into external funding and exciting new scientific discoveries and outcomes.

Upon receipt of a Bachelor of Art in Zoology from DePauw University in 1979, Dr. Kelley earned a Master of Science degree from Louisiana State University in 1981. In 1984, he earned his PhD in Genetics from the Louisiana State University. To further develop his professional career, he completed an American Cancer Society (ACS) Post-Doctoral Fellowship at The Rockefeller University in 1987.

Dr. Kelley’s desire to pursue a career in the field of Molecular and Cellular Biology began after completing his graduate studies at the Louisiana State University and postdoctoral studies at The Rockefeller University in the areas of DNA damage and repair. Looking back, he attributes his success to his love of science, discovery, hard work, very strong collaborators, team science and focusing on translating findings from the bench to the clinic.

Dr. Kelley maintains affiliations with The American Association for The Advancement of Science, The American Society for Clinical Oncology, The American Association for Cancer Research, The American Cancer Society, and Alliance of Distinguished Rank Professors.

In his free time, he volunteers with the Riley Children’s Foundation, American Cancer Society, Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, and with numerous Dance Marathons supporting Riley Hospital and Pediatric Cancer Research.

Due to his commitment to research, Dr. Kelley has most recently been awarded the Betty and Earl Herr Chair in Pediatric Oncology Research, Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Scholar, Innovation to Enterprise Commercialization Award 2015, and Bantz-Petronio Translating Research Into Practice Award 2017.

Considering the future, Dr. Kelley hopes to continue his bench to clinic studies, begin Phase 1 trials in conjunction with Apexian Pharmaceuticals with APX3330, develop additional agents targeting APE1/Ref-1 and intersecting pathways, and continue doing discovery and, translational research as well as mentoring the next generation of scientists.

For more information, please contact:
Elizabeth Moore
American Health Council
Hauppauge, NY United States
Phone: 1-212-390-0214
Email: media@americanhealthcouncil.org

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