Philip Tofilon, Ph.D.

Philip  Tofilon, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator

Dr. Tofilon’s research is aimed at understanding the molecular determinants of cellular radiosensitivity with the ultimate goal of developing target based radiosensitizing agents. Over the last several years studies in his lab have focused on two specific projects: the radiation-induced translational control of gene expression and the microenvironmental regulation of glioblastoma radioresponse.

Areas of Expertise

1) radiation biology, 2) glioblastoma, 3) microenvironment, 4) translational control of gene expression, 5) radiation sensitizers, 6) mTOR

Contact Info

Philip Tofilon, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 10, Room B3B69B
Bethesda, MD 20892
Ph: 240-858-3048

Dr. Tofilon's research is aimed at understanding the molecular determinants of cellular radiosensitivity with the ultimate goal of developing target-based radiosensitizing agents.

An ongoing project involves radiation-induced gene expression, which has been generally considered to be the result of modifications in transcription. However, our recent studies revealed that radiation induces changes in gene expression not by modulating transcription, but through regulating the translation of existing mRNAs. Studies are presently aimed at understanding the mechanisms mediating the radiation-induced translational control of gene expression and whether this process provides a source of targets for tumor specific radiosensitization.

An additional project focuses on the radiobiology of glioblastomas (GBMs) specifically addressing the influence of the brain microenvironment. These studies involve the use of GBM stem-like cells isolated from human surgical specimens grown in vitro and as intracranial xenografts.

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Neuroscience, Stem Cell Biology
View Dr. Tofilon's PubMed Summary.

Selected Key Publications

  1. Timme CR, Degorre-Kerbaul C, McAbee JH, Rath BH, Wu X, Camphausen K, Tofilon PJ.
    Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 107(1): 194-201, 2020. [ Journal Article ]
  2. McAbee JH, Rath BH, Valdez K, Young DL, Wu X, Shankavaram UT, Camphausen K, Tofilon PJ.
    Cancer Res. 79(23): 6032-43, 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Wang Z, Feng X, Molinolo AA, Martin D, Vitale-Cross L, Nohata N, Ando M, Wahba A, Amornphimoltham P, Wu X, Gilardi M, Allevato M, Wu V, Steffen DJ, Tofilon P, Sonenberg N, Califano J, Chen Q, Lippman SM, Gutkind JS.
    Cancer Res. 79(7): 1438-50, 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Wahba A, Rath BH, Bisht K, Camphausen K, Tofilon PJ.
    Cancer Res. 76(10): 3078-87, 2016. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Hayman TJ, Wahba A, Rath BH, Bae H, Kramp T, Shankavaram UT, Camphausen K, Tofilon PJ.
    Clin. Cancer Res. 20: 110-9, 2014. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Tofilon received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in 1977. He began his graduate training at UCSF in pharmacology and then moved with his thesis advisor to the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he received his Ph.D. in 1981. Dr. Tofilon returned to UCSF as a postdoctoral fellow in the Brain Tumor Research Center where he began to focus his research on radiobiology. In 1984, he joined the Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as an assistant professor and was promoted to professor in 1996 with a joint appointment as professor in the Department of Neurosurgery. In June of 2001, Dr. Tofilon relocated to NCI as chief of the newly created Molecular Radiation Therapeutics Branch, RRP, DCTD. In May of 2006 he accepted a position as Professor/Member in the Drug Discovery Department, Moffitt Cancer Center. Finally, in January 2011 he returned to NCI as an investigator in the Radiation Oncology Branch.

Name Position
Stacey Lehman Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Joseph McAbee Predoctoral Fellow (Medical Student)
Barbara Rath Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Cindy Timme Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Theresa Wechsler Postbaccalaureate Fellow (CRTA)