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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Federico Innocenti, MD, PhD, has been appointed associate professor of pharmacy in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. He will serve as associate director of the UNC Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Federico Innocenti is an internationally regarded expert in cancer pharmacogenomics and known for his formidable ability to translate novel laboratory findings into clinical use,” said Robert Blouin, PharmD, dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “His blend of clinical training and pharmacology expertise will complement and advance our individualized therapy program.”

Innocenti has elucidated the role of the enzyme UGT1A1 in developing toxicity to the anticancer drug irinotecan and then performed clinical studies using patients’ genetic information to redefine the right dose of this commonly used drug. His main current research activity is to discover new genes associated with the clinical outcome of new targeted agents by using genomic technologies to analyze the map of heritable genomic variations of cancer patients.

As the first associate director for oncology research in the Institute of Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy (IPIT), Innocenti will coordinate the cancer-related pharmacogenetic activities of IPIT and has formed a multidisciplinary working group to catalyze cancer pharmacogenomics at UNC. Working with other IPIT leaders and collaborators across campus, Innocenti will be responsible for strategic planning of the cancer pharmacogenomic activities of IPIT and leading intervention trials to bring pharmacogenetically guided therapy into the clinic.

Shelley Earp, MD, director of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said, “Federico Innocenti comes to UNC with stellar credentials. He will work with our clinical oncology teams to understand how a patient’s genetic make-up influences their response to cancer therapy. His recruitment, supported by the University Cancer Research Fund, along with that of IPIT Director, Howard McLeod, will put UNC at the forefront of this important clinical area. North Carolina’s patients will benefit. With his and other recruitments, also made possible by the Fund, North Carolina has a nationally recognized program capable of creating new knowledge about how best to make cancer therapies effective for each individual.”

Innocenti comes to UNC from the University of Chicago where he was an assistant professor of medicine in the section of hematology and oncology. His National Institutes of Health-funded research program is currently focused on the discovery of genomic determinants of efficacy and toxicity of cancer chemotherapy. The ultimate goal of Dr. Innocenti’s program is the personalization of cancer therapies.

Innocenti serves on numerous committees of clinical trials cooperative groups, professional societies and
the National Cancer Institute. He is on the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Committee of the national clinical trials cooperative group Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), and serves as its liaison to the CALGB Genitourinary Committee. He is on the Investigational Drug Steering Committee for the National Cancer Institute and serves as Vice Chair of the Oncology Section for the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Dr. Innocenti sits on the editorial board of Journal of Clinical Oncology, Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, Current Drug Metabolism, and others. He is associate editor for Pharmacogenomics. He has published more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters in clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenomics and the editor of three books in the field of pharmacogenomics.

Innocenti earned his magna cum laude medical degree from the University of Pisa School of Medicine in Pisa, Italy and his PhD in pharmacology and toxicology of chemotherapy from the University of Pisa. He graduated from the postgraduate Schools of Oncology and Pharmacology, also at the University of Pisa.