Javier Gonzalez Alarcon, M.D.

Javier Gonzalez Alarcon, M.D.
Associate Research Physician

Dr. Gonzalez is a clinical neuro-oncologist who is focused on treating patients with primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors and has a particular interest in older patients. He hopes to develop clinical trials that investigate the scientific reasoning behind the success or failure of treatments, especially immunotherapy, and advancing options for patients that incorporate prognostic value. His research is focused on how aging and frailty can impact disease and clinical outcomes and how that can be better defined to then provide appropriate immunotherapy or other treatments that are more effective than generic standard-of-care. Dr. Gonzalez seeks to improve the quality of life for his patients with CNS tumors by making science-based treatment decisions that are more personalized for by age group and prognostic value.

Areas of Expertise

1) geriatric neuro-oncology, 2) immuno-oncology, 3) gliomas, 4) quality of life, 5) neuro-oncology 

Contact Info

Javier Gonzalez Alarcon, M.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 82, Room 227
Bethesda, MD 20814
Ph: 240-760-7727
Fax: 301-480-5124

Dr. Gonzalez is interested in exploring the mechanisms behind immunotherapy failure in brain tumor patients, and especially in patients in older age groups. As one ages, the immune system slows down, also known as immune senescence, which can result in higher vulnerability to developing acute or chronic medical conditions. In cancer, the lack of a robust immune system decreases the body’s ability to fight the tumor, manifesting itself as a more aggressive disease even when treated with immunotherapy. Dr. Gonzalez seeks to define a patient’s “immunological age” using immune markers such as T-cell function through his future research.

The primary goal of this endeavor is to increase immunotherapy response in more brain tumor patients and help with the understanding of how various factors can guide whether a patient should receive immunotherapy for prognostic benefit. If a patient exhibits “younger”, more robust immune function, it may indicate a better response to therapy, but for patients that already display signs of immune senescence, there is a gap in knowledge that could help find new agents to possibly reverse this phenotype. Dr. Gonzalez also hopes to extend this study’s concept to studying neuroprotection in patients that undergo radiation, and how certain new compounds may decrease the detrimental effects of receiving radiation therapy.

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Clinical Research, Immunology

Selected Key Publications

  1. Fabian D, Guillermo Prieto Eibl MDP, Alnahhas I, Sebastian N, Giglio P, Puduvalli V, Gonzalez J, Palmer JD.
    Cancer (Basel). 11(2): 174, 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Turner RC, Lucke-Wold BP, Josiah D, Gonzalez J, Schmidt M, Tarabishy AR, Bhatia S.
    Acta Neurochir (Wien). 158(8): 1555-62, 2016. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Gilbert MR, Gonzalez J, Hunter K, Hess K, Giglio P, Chang E, Puduvalli V, Groves MD, Colman H, Conrad C, Levin V, Woo S, Mahajan A, de Groot J, Yung WK.
    Neuro Oncol. 12(11): 1167-72, 2010. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Penas-Prado M, Hess KR, Fisch MJ, Lagrone LW, Groves MD, Levin VA, De Groot JF, Puduvalli VK, Colman H, Volas-Redd G, Giglio P, Conrad CA, Salacz ME, Floyd JD, Loghin ME, Hsu SH, Gonzalez J, Chang EL, Woo SY, Mahajan A, Aldape KD, Yung WK, Gilbert MR; MD Anderson Community Clinical Oncology Program; Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative.
    Neuro Oncol. 17(2): 266-73, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Gonzalez J, de Groot J.
    Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 8(11): 1767-79, 2008. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Gonzalez completed his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree in Colombia, South America and has been committed to pursuing neurology since his early medical career. After serving an underprivileged area in Colombia for a year after completing medical school, he completed a neurology residency and transferred to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center shortly thereafter to  pursue a Neuro-Oncology fellowship. Dr. Gonzalez completed additional training in internal medicine and neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He then accepted a position as a neuro-oncologist in West Virginia, where he was Head of the Brain Tumor Program and was also responsible for overseeing the Brain Tumor Research Program by being the principal investigator on all the active consortium clinical trials. Further, he ran the Neuro-Immunology Program and all regular Tumor Board meetings in the field, gathering diverse and in-depth experience in various neuro-oncology related fields. Dr. Gonzalez then received an appointment as a faculty member at Ohio State University.  He joined NCI's Neuro-Oncology Branch in  2019 and is looking forward to providing care to patients with challenging tumors through clinical trial development.

In addition to his clinical care responsibilities, Dr. Gonzalez has been an ad-hoc reviewer for several scientific journals such as Journal of the Neurological Science, Current Cancer Drug Targets, and International Journal of Multiple Sclerosis Care. He has been a co-principal investigator on numerous clinical trials  across the various institutions he has been a part of and received several awards for his outstanding medical knowledge, teaching and leadership abilities.

Honors, Awards, and Leadership

  • Inducted to Terry Phelps Hall of Fame by National Multiple Sclerosis Society – 2014 
  • Certificate of Recognition, Office of the Chief Executive, State of West Virginia – 2013 
  • Resident Teaching Award, Department of Neurology, West Virginia University – AY 2013-2014
  • Honorary Mention and Resident Research Award, Department of Neurology, University of Texas Medical Branch – AY 2009-2010.
  • Outstanding Neurology Resident, University of Texas Medical Branch 2009-2010
  • Best Resident in Training Exam (RITE), Department of Neurology, The University of Texas Medical Branch – AY 2008-2009 and 2009-2010
  • Outstanding Neurology Resident, University of Texas Medical Branch – AY 2007-2008
  • Valedictorian of Graduating Class 2003, Hospital de San José. Bogotá, Colombia – 2003 

Select Societies and Initiatives

  • Honorary Member of Colombian Neurological Association
  • Multiple Sclerosis Section of American Academy of Neurology
  • Member of Neuro-Oncology Section of American Academy of Neurology
  • American Academy of Neurology (AAN) (2007 – present)
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) (2006 – present)
  • Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) (2005 – present)