Duda Lab Research
Education and Academic Appointments
Dr. Duda obtained a DMD from the University of Medicine Iasi, Romania, in 1993 and then earned a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences (Gastrointestinal Surgery) from Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan, in 2001. After graduation, he pursued postdoctoral training with Professor Rakesh K. Jain in the Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology, Department of Radiation Oncology, MGH, and Harvard Medical School in Boston for 3 years. Dr. Duda became a Junior Faculty member at Harvard (Instructor) in 2004. He rose through the ranks to Full Investigator at MGH Research Institute in 2016 and Professor of Radiation Oncology in 2023. In 2016, Dr. Duda was appointed Director of Translational Research in Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology at MGH. In 2021, he received the honorary degree "Doctor Honoris Causa" from the University of Medicine Iasi, Romania, his Alma Mater.
Research Goals of the Duda Lab
Over the last decade and a half, Dr. Duda has built a productive Liver Cancer Research Program at Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology. The translational goal of this program is to increase the durability of response to the most effective available therapies. The approach is to identify new cellular and molecular mechanisms of local and metastatic tumor progression and treatment resistance and validate them as new targets for combination therapies for these cancers.
His group studies the activity of agents targeting the tumor microenvironment (antiangiogenic or antifibrotic agents) or targeting the cancer cells (radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted agents) combined with immunotherapy approaches. To this end, they developed preclinical models that reproduce hallmarks of human cancers, including genetically engineered models of primary hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma, and metastatic pancreatic, breast, and prostate carcinomas. In parallel, they are conducting correlative studies of biomarkers of response to the same approaches in clinical trials in cancer patients in a CLIA-certified environment. Dr. Duda's research is supported by multiple National Cancer Institute (NCI) grants, Department of Defense (DoD) awards, and sponsored agreements with Industry partners.
Track Record and Service
Dr. Duda has authored 261 publications so far. Of these, 162 are original reports, including basic research published in Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Genetics, Nature Communications, Cell, Cancer Cell, Science Translational Medicine, JNCI, Gut, and Hepatology, and clinical reports published in Journal of Clinical Oncology, npj Precision Oncology, and JAMA Oncology. Over the last two and a half decades, he has been invited to present our results at over 250 local, national, and international meetings, including in Grand Rounds (Harvard, Mayo Clinic, Yale, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, UMPC), Plenary and State-of-the-art Talks (AACR, ISSCR, IASGO, IAP), and Keynote Lectures. Dr. Duda has received multiple awards for his research, including from the AACR, Cancer Research Institute (CRI), IASGO, and MGH. He became an Honorary Member of the Academy of Medical Sciences of Romania in 2012, was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineering (AIMBE) in 2020, was elected as a 2021 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow in 2022, and was elected as an IASGO Fellow (FASGO) in 2023. He was elected as a Foreign Member of the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea) in 2023.
Dr. Duda has been a chartered or ad-hoc Member and Chair of multiple expert panels. These included US NCI study sections (currently Chair of the Cancer Diagnostics and Treatments Study Section since 2022), American Cancer Society (ACS) Tumor Biology Group, US Department of Defense (DOD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Program, and Belgium FWO (Chair of the Med4 panel 2018-2020). He is a Founding Editor of Surgery, Gastroenterology and Oncology and Senior Associate Editor of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics. He is an Editorial Board member for several other journals, including Clinical & Translational Radiation Oncology, Journal of Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Digestive Surgery, and Cancers. Since 2015, he has been serving as the Secretary-General of the IASGO. In addition, Dr. Duda was a member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Liver Fibrosis Special Interest Group; a member of the NCI Hepatobiliary Task Force for Immuno-Oncology Biomarkers; and chair of the SWOG Cancer Research Network Translational Medicine GI Committee. Dr. Duda chaired the Forbeck Forum on “The Biology and Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma” in 2023 and will chair the "Boston Angiogenesis Meeting" in 2024.
Dr. Duda teaches tumor biology and translational oncology through the daily supervision of postdoctoral research fellows and graduate and undergraduate students (50+ in the last 15 years). As a passionate supporter of IASGO's mission to globalize the best medical practice and knowledge worldwide, he has been coordinating, teaching, and directing Postgraduate Courses in 29 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas since 2013. He has taught nationally in ASTRO, ESTRO, and SWOG translational meetings for residents and clinicians and locally in the MIT-HMS Health, Science, and Technology Program since 2005. In addition, he has been coordinating a research exchange student program with the University of Muenster, Germany, since 2015. He has directed the Annual Course "Methods in Biomedical Engineering, Tumor Biology and Immunology" at MGH since 2004. He edited the "IASGO Textbook of Multi-Disciplinary Management of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Diseases" published by Nature-Springer in 2022.
(For more information, see full CV below.)
A new therapeutic strategy for hepatocellular cancer (HCC) that initially primes the tumor with an immune checkpoint inhibitor before using a multikinase inhibitor drug showed great promise for treating patients with the deadly disease, a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) study found. In a paper published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that the new sequencing approach enhanced the effectiveness of the dual drug therapy, potentially allowing de-escalation of the prolonged use of medications and thus reducing toxic drug exposure...
A team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has reprogrammed the tumor microenvironment of liver cancer by using mRNA nanoparticles. This technology, similar to the one used in COVID-19 vaccines, restored the function of the p53 master regulator gene, a tumor suppressor mutated in not just liver but also other types of cancer. When used in combination with immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), the p53 mRNA nanoparticle approach not only induced suppression of tumor growth but also significantly increased antitumor immune responses in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) laboratory models. The results of the study were published in Nature Communications.
Steele researchers discover a promising approach to inhibiting a less frequent but highly treatment-refractory liver cancer