Daruka Mahadevan, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine
Director, Phase I Program

Internal Contact Information

UACC Organizational Unit: 
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Mahadevan is a Professor of Medicine and a recognized expert and highly experienced Physician-Scientist in Hematology and Oncology, and currently the Director of Phase I clinical trials and Co-Director of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Arizona – Arizona Cancer Center.  He received his medical degree from the University of London, England, UK. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, subspecialty of Medical Oncology.

Dr. Mahadevan’s major area of clinical interest is in the treatment and management of patients with Pancreatic cancer, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST), Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) including Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).

As Director of the Phase I Program, he conducts first-in-human clinical trials with new drugs for patients with all solid tumor types as well patients with MDS, CLL and NHL. His research interest focuses on discovering novel therapeutic targets through a rigorous validation process and then design drugs to these targets using a structure-based drug discovery algorithm.

Dr. Mahadevan’s expertise in the above tumor types is that he conducts both Phase I and II first-in-human therapeutic trials in patients who have failed front line therapies. The Phase I Drug Development Program includes Dr. Mahadevan as team director, a nurse practitioner, a program manager, two senior research nurses, two clinical research coordinators and a pharmakokinetics lab specialist.

Multiple new drugs are available for patients with both solid and hematologic malignancies. Clinical research interests are to develop the drug alone and in combination for novel Phase I combination studies to enhance survival. Laboratory interests are focused on understanding resistance mechanisms in Pancreas Cancer, GIST, CLL and NHL.

Dr. Mahadevan's laboratory expertise is to discover novel therapeutic targets by a rigorous validation process and then design drugs to these targets using a structure-based drug discovery algorithm. To this end he has been successful in taking a small molecular inhibitor to c-Kit/PDGFR all the way from the bench to the clinic. MP470 (Amuvatinib) a c-Kit/PDGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor is now in Phase I clinical trials.
Since the University of Arizona Cancer Center received the prestigious Lymphoma SPORE grant in 2008 from the NCI/NIH to evaluate drugs targeting Aurora Kinases in NHL, major strides have been made in treating both B- and T-cell NHL patients where significant clinical activity has been observed. Currently, novel combination therapies for NHL are in the process of being developed for future clinical trials.

Other areas of translation research include identifying novel cell surface therapuetic targets in pancreatic cancer and new drugs and combinations for gleevec and sutent resistant GIST. For pancreas cancer the translational component involves the design and humanization of murine antibodies as a therapeutic as well as elucidating the mechanism of action of the therapeutic antibody. Pre-clinical research involves in vivo and mouse pancreatic cancer models to demonstrate safety and efficacy of the therapeutic. For GIST, CLL and NHL novel drug combinations are being evaluated for future clinical trials.

Dr. Mahadevan has a demonstrated track record of delivering first-in-human investigational agents for all oncology therapeutics. In addition, he has successfully directed a structure-based translational drug discovery laboratory program with the award of 6 US patents for new drugs targeting novel driver oncogenes. As PI or Co-PI on several NIH and Foundation grants, he established proof-of-concept and delivered on drug discovery - R01 (AKT PH domain inhibitors) and on drug development - NSF (Prostate cancer translational drug development), SPORE in Lymphoma (Aurora kinase inhibitor therapy for aggressive lymphoma) and SWOG Hope Foundation (targeted therapeutics for aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin Lymphomas). The CCSG leadership opportunity provided transformational change, utilizing his expertise to create tangible and measurable improvements to enhance research value, build a sustainable New Therapeutics program to optimally deliver patient care and a translational drug discovery platform to dismantle resistance to targeted therapies.

Dr. Mahadevan has recently taken the position of Co-Leader of the Therapeutic Development Program at the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

Medical Oncologist

Clinical Information

Clinical Practice Sites: 
The University of Arizona Cancer Center - North Campus
Disease or Clinical Specialty: 
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Research Information

Research Program: 
Therapeutic Development
Member Status: 
Research Member

Professional Information

Board Certifications: 
1998    Diplomate, American Board on Internal Medicine
2003    Diplomate, American Board of Medical Oncology
Professional Affiliations: 
2002  Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) – Lymphoma Committee Member
2002  American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) – Active member
2002  American Society of Oncology (ASCO) – Active- Junior Member
2003  Current Medicinal Chemistry–Editorial Board (Anti-Cancer Drug Design)
2004  Supergen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – Scientific Advisor
2005  American Society of Hematology (ASH) – Active Member, Abstract Reviewer (2007)
Positions and Honors: 

2000-2002  AMGEN Fellow of the Year Award
                Arizona Cancer Center
                Tucson, Arizona

9/91–10/94 Fogarty International Fellowship
                Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology
                National Cancer Institute
                National Institutes of Health
                Bethesda, MD
1998–1990 Dane Foundation Fellowship
                British Medical Council
                British Medical Association
                BMA House, England

US Patent #920214.00004 Inhibitors of C-Kit and PDGF Receptor Tyrosine Kinases
US Patent #920214.00003 Aurora 2 Kinase Inhibitors
US Patent #263922US-2204-2204-96  Anti-CEACAM6 antibodies for the treatment of cancer
US Patent #7,326,713 Substituted Tricyclic Compound as Protein Kinase Inhibitors
US Patent #7,326,712 Substituted Tricyclic Compound as Protein Kinase Inhibitors
US Patent #7,335,662 Substituted Tricyclic Compound as Protein Kinase Inhibitors

Academic Information

Hematology/Oncology: Arizona Health Science Center, University of Arizona
Internal Medicine: University of Connecticut Health Center
Doctorare in Science (PhD): "Protein Crystallography": Birkbeck College
Medical School: 
Kings College Hospital Medical Center, University of London, UK
Undergraduate School: 
Bachelor of Honors (BSC), "Physiology and Biochemstry with Chemistry, University of Reading, UK