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2017 Featured Talks » Keynote Presentation: Finding Therapeutic Targets for Aggressive Prostate Cancer



Keynote Presentation:
Finding Therapeutic Targets for Aggressive Prostate Cancer


Owen Witte, MD
UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center

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Owen Witte, MD
Director, UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center
Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
University of California, Los Angeles
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Owen Witte received his undergraduate degree from Cornell and his MD from Stanford University. He completed postdoctoral research at MIT then joined the faculty at UCLA where he presently is a University Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics and holds the President's Chair in Developmental Immunology. He is the Director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.

Dr. Witte has made significant contributions to the understanding of human leukemias, immune disorders, and epithelial cancer stem cells. His work includes the discovery of tyrosine kinase activity for the ABL gene and the demonstration of the BCR-ABL oncoproteins in human leukemias. This has had practical impact in leading to the development of kinase targeted therapy as an effective treatment for these leukemias and other cancers. His work also led to the co-discovery of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) which is required for normal B-lymphocyte development, and when mutated leads to X-linked agammaglobulinemia, a form of immune deficiency. New inhibitors for BTK are entering clinical practice for the treatment of certain lymphomas and leukemias. Recent work has concentrated on defining the stem cells for epithelial cancers of the prostate and other organ sites to help define new types of therapy for these diseases.

Dr. Witte is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine. He has received many awards for his research including most recently the AAMC Award for Distinguished Research in Biomedical Sciences (2016) and the Stanford Medical School Kornberg-Berg Lifetime Achievement Award in Biosciences (2016). He currently serves on several editorial and advisory boards. Dr. Witte previously served on the Board of Directors for the American Association for Cancer Research. He was also re-appointed for his 2nd term by President Obama to the President’s Cancer Panel.

He has extensive experience consulting in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, he is a Founder and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Kite Pharma, and a Founder and member of the Board of Directors of Trethera Corporation.