Position title: Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematology-Oncology
Phone: 608-263-4198 (office), 608-265-8131 (lab)
7007 WI Institute Medical Research
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705
Research Description. Dr. McNeel is a genitourinary medical oncologist with a laboratory and clinical research program focused on prostate cancer immunology. The goal of these efforts is to develop effective anti-tumor vaccines as treatments for prostate cancer, and Dr. McNeel has been focused on this area for nearly 20 years. His initial studies sought to identify immunologically recognized antigens as potential targets for vaccines using blood from patients with prostate cancer, prostatitis, or patients treated with various immune-modulating agents. More recent efforts have focused on three specific antigens (prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), the ligand-binding domain of the androgen receptor (AR LBD), and synovial sarcoma X breakpoint 2 (SSX2)), characterizing these as tumor antigens, evaluating anti-tumor genetic vaccines targeting these antigens in appropriate rodent models, and translating these findings to early phase human clinical trials. Dr. McNeel and his laboratory have specifically focused on plasmid DNA genetic vaccines as a means of antigen delivery, methods to increase the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines, and understanding the mechanisms of tumor resistance to anti-tumor immunization. This research is translational in nature, taking results from the laboratory to clinical testing, and back again to the laboratory, and has been continuously supported by federal funding from NIH and/or DOD. In the context of this research, Dr. McNeel has trained over 40 post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students in laboratory research. To date, they have conducted (or are conducting) six separate clinical trials using DNA vaccines developed in the McNeel laboratory. Dr. McNeel has also been principal investigator for over 20 investigator-initiated clinical trials, primarily focused on immune-based treatment approaches. As a physician-scientist with research experience in the laboratory and clinic, and focused on the development and evaluation of new cancer therapies, Dr. McNeel previously served as co-leader of the Experimental Therapeutics Program of the UW Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) from 2007 to 2015, and currently serves as UWCCC Director of Solid Tumor Immunology Research.