Gary A. Piazza, Ph.D.

Leader, Cancer Chemoprevention and Experimental Therapeutics Programs

2016-03-09 MCI Gary Piazza resized.jpg


USA Mitchell Cancer Institute
1660 Springhill Avenue
Mobile, Alabama 36604
(251) 445-8412


Professional Profile

Research Interests:
- Anticancer activity of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Phosphodiesterases, cyclic GMP signaling, and apoptosis
- Novel Ras inhibitor 
- Cancer drug discovery and development

- B.S., Biology and Psychology, Dominican University
- Ph.D., Pharmacology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Postdoctoral Fellowship, Fox Chase Cancer Center
- Postdoctoral Fellowship, Brown University

Professional Appointments:
- Professor of Oncologic Sciences, Chief of Drug Discovery Research Center, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute (2011-present)
- Professor of Pharmacology, University of South Alabama (2011-present)
- Adjunct Associate Professor, UAB Department of Biochemistry (2009-2011)
- Principal Scientist, UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (2008-2011)
- Director, Southern Research Molecular Libraries Screening Center (2004-2008)
- Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Alabama at Birmingham (2004-2011)
- Manager, Cell Biology and Immunology Laboratories, Southern Research (2003-2004)
- Director, Department of Pharmacology, Institute for Drug Development (2001-2003)
- Senior Director of Biology, Cell Pathways Inc. (1994-2001)
- Staff Scientist, The Procter & Gamble Co. (1989-1994)
- Research Assistant Oncologist, Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital (1987-1989)

Honors and Academic Achievements:
- Abraham A. Mitchell Distinguished Investigator (2011)
- Assistant Scientist UAB Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center (2011)
- Howard C. Bailey Award of Excellence in Cancer Prevention and Control Research (2008) 

Other Professional Honors / Services:
- Inventor on more than 45 patent applications
- Reviewer, NCI SBIR/STTR, Cancer drug discovery and development study section, 2009-2012
- Reviewer, NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center Site Visit, 2008-2015
- Reviewer, NCI Program project study section, 2006-2015
- Reviewer, NCI SPORE study section, 2011-2015
- Reviewer, NCI Chemoprevention Branch, 1997-2003
- Reviewer, National Human Genome Research Institute, 2004–2006 
- Reviewer, NCI Drug Discovery and Mol. Pharm. study section, 2008-2010
- Reviewer, Chemical and Dietary Prevention study section, 2007-2015
- Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
- International Journal for High Throughput Screening
- Frontiers in Gastrointestinal Cancers

Selected Publications:

  1. Li, N., Chen, X., Zhu, B., Ramírez-Alcántara, V., Canzoneri, J.C., Lee, K., Sigler, S., Gary, B., Li, Y., Zhang, W., Moyer, M.P., Salter, E.A., Wierzbicki, A., Keeton, A., and G.A. Piazza (2015)  “Suppression of β-catenin/TCF transcriptional activity and colon tumor cell growth by dual inhibition of PDE5 and 10”. Oncotarget 6: 27403-27415
  2. Aboul-Fadl, T., Al-Hamad, S., Abdel-Hamid, M., Abdel-Aziz, H., Al-Abaid, A., Gary, B., and G. A. Piazza (2014) “Amide prodrugs of naproxen and amino acid esters as potential colon tumor cell growth inhibitors”. Med. Chem. Res. 23: 2177-2188.
  3. Li N., Lee K., Xi Y., Zhu B., Gary B.D., Ramírez-Alcántara V., Gurpinar E., Canzoneri J.C., Fajardo A., Sigler S., Piazza J.T., Chen X., Andrews J., Thomas M., Lu W., Li Y., Laan D.J., Moyer M.P., Russo S., Eberhardt B.T., Yet L., Keeton A.B., Grizzle W.E., and G.A. Piazza (2014). “Phosphodiesterase 10A: a novel target for selective inhibition of colon tumor cell growth and b-catenin-dependent TCF transcriptional activity” (2015) Oncogene 34: 1499-1509.
  4. Fajardo, A.M. G.A. Piazzaand H.N. Tinsley (2014) “The Role of Cyclic Nucleotide Signaling Pathways in Cancer: Targets for Prevention and Treatment" Cancers 6: 436-458.
  5. Gurpinar, E., Grizzle, W.E., and G.A. Piazza (2014) “NSAIDs inhibit tumorigenesis, but how?” Clinical Cancer Research 20: 1-10. PMID: 24311630.
  6. Hamed M.M., Abou El Ella D.A., Keeton A.B., Piazza G.A., Hartmann R.W., Engel M., and A.H. Abadi (2013) “6-aryl and heterocycle quinazoline derivatives as potent EGFR inhibitors with improved activity toward Gefitinib-sensitive and -resistant tumor cell lines.”, Chem. Med Chem. 8:1495-1504.
  7. Li, N., Tinsley, H.N., Gurpinar, E., Gary, B.D., Russo, S., Xi, Y., Li, Y., Keeton, A.B., Grizzle, W.E., and G. A. Piazza (2013) “Sulindac selectively inhibits colon tumor cell growth by activating the cGMP/PKG pathway to suppress Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 12:1848-59.
  8. Gurpinar, E., Grizzle, W.E., Shacka, J.J., Li, N., Piazza, N.A., Russo, S., Keeton, A.B. and G. A. Piazza (2013) “A novel non-COX-inhibitory sulindac derivative potently inhibits Akt/mTOR signaling and induces autophagy-mediated cell death in lung adenocarcinoma cells.” Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 12: 663-674.
  9. Yi, B., Piazza, G.A., Su, X., and Y. Xi, (2013) “MicroRNA and cancer chemoprevention”. Cancer Prevention Research 6:401-409.
  10. Whitt, J.D., Li, N., Tinsley, H.N., Chen, X., Zhang, W., Li, Y., Gary, B.D., Keeton, A.B., Xi, Y., Abadi , A.H., Grizzle , W.E., and Piazza, G.A.(2012) “A novel sulindac derivative that potently suppresses colon tumor cell growth by inhibiting cGMP phosphodiesterase and β-catenin transcriptional activity”. Cancer Prevention Research 5:822-833.
  11. Li X., Gao L., Cui Q., Gary B.D., Dyess D.L., Taylor W., Shevde L.A., Samant R.S., Dean-Colomb W., Piazza G.A.; and Xi Y. (2012) “Sulindac inhibits tumor cell invasion by suppressing NF-κB-mediated transcription of microRNAs” Oncogene. 31:4979-86.
  12. Tinsley, H.N., Gary, B.D., Keeton, A.B., Lu, W., Li, Y., and Piazza, G.A. (2011) “PDE5 inhibition selectively induces apoptosis of human breast tumor cells through attenuation of oncogenic β-catenin mediated transcription”. Cancer Prevention Research. 4: 1275-1284.
  13. Tinsley, H.N., Gary, B.D., Thaiparambil, J., Li, N., Lu, W., Li, Y., Maxuitenko, Y.Y. Keeton, A.B., and Piazza, G.A.(2010) “Colon tumor cell growth inhibitory activity of sulindac sulfide and other NSAIDs is associated with PDE5 inhibition” Cancer Prevention Research 3, 1303-1313.
  14. Zhang, Y, Zhang, J., Wang, L., Quealy, E., Gary, B.D. Reynolds, R.C., Piazza, G.A., and J. Lu, (2010) “A novel sulindac derivative lacking COX-inhibitory activities antagonizes AR signaling, inhibits proliferation and suppresses prostate carcinogenesis” Cancer Prevention Research 3, 885-895. 
  15. Piazza, G.A., Keeton, A.B., Tinsley, H.N., Gary, BD, Whitt, J.D., Mathew, B., Thaiparambil, J., Coward, L., Gorman, G., Li, Y., Sani, B., Hobrath, J.V., Maxuitenko, Y.Y. and Reynolds, R.C. (2009) “A novel sulindac derivative that does not inhibit cyclooxygenases, but inhibits colon tumor cell growth and induces apoptosis with antitumor activity” Cancer Prevention Research, 2: 572-580. 
  16. Tinsley, H.N., Gary, B.D., Keeton, A.B., Zhang, W., Abadi, A.H., Reynolds, R.C., and Piazza, G.A. (2009) “Sulindac sulfide selectively inhibits growth and induces apoptosis of human breast tumor cells by PDE5 inhibition, elevation of cGMP, and activation of PKG” Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 8: 3331-3340.
  17. Basler, J. W. and Piazza, G.A. (2004) “NSAIDs and cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors for prostate cancer chemoprevention” J. Urol. 171(2): S59-S63. 
  18. Piazza, G. A., Thompson, W. J., Pamukcu, R., Whitehead, C., Li, L., Fetter, J., Gresh, B., Klein-Szanto, A., Farnell, D., Eto, I., and Grubbs, C. J., (2001) “Exisulind inhibits rat urinary bladder tumorigenesis by cGMP mediated apoptosis” Cancer Research 61: 3961-3968.
  19. Thompson, W. J., Piazza, G. A., Li, H., Liu, L., Fetter, J., Zhu, B., Sperl, G., Ahnen, D., and R. Pamukcu, P., (2000) “Exisulind induced apoptosis involves cGMP PDE Inhibition, PKG activation, and attenuated β-catenin” Cancer Research 60: 3338-3342.
  20. Stoner, G. D., Budd, G.T., Ganapathi, R., DeYoung, B., Kresty, L.A., Church, J.M., Provencher, K.,Pamukcu, R., Piazza, G., Hawk, E., Kelloff, G., Elson, P. and R. U. van Stolk, R. U., (1999) “Sulindac sulfone induced regression of rectal polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis” Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 470: 45-53.  PMID 10709673
  21. Malkinson, A. M., Koshi, K. M., Dwyer-Nield, L. D., Rice, P. L., Rioux, N., Castonguay, A., Ahnen, D. J., Thompson, H., Pamukcu, R. and Piazza, G.A., (1998) “Inhibition of NNK-induced mouse lung tumor formation by FGN-1 (sulindac sulfone)” Carcinogenesis 19:1353-1356.


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