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Gary D. Stoner

Stoner, Gary D.
Gary D. Stoner
Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin

Professor of Medicine

Dr. Gary Stoner is Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) Division of Hematology and Oncology, specializing in the fields of chemical carcinogenesis and cancer chemoprevention. He serves as Director of the Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program in the newly developing Cancer Center.

Dr. Stoner received his PhD in microbiology from the University of Michigan in 1970 and became involved in cancer research as a post-doctoral fellow and research scientist at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD). While at UCSD, his research was focused on the development of a mouse model of lung cancer for the identification of environmental carcinogens and for mechanistic studies of lung carcinogenesis. He then joined the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis at the National Cancer Institute where he conducted research on the metabolism of tobacco carcinogens in human lung tissues and developed human lung cell culture systems for investigations of carcinogen/oncogene-induced cell transformation. He became involved in chemoprevention research in the early 1980’s while at the Medical College of Ohio, initially investigating the chemopreventive potential of naturally-occurring ellagitannins and isothiocyanates in the rodent lung and esophagus. As an extension of research with ellagic acid, Dr. Stoner’s laboratory developed a “food-based” approach to the prevention of esophagus and colon cancers in rodents and in humans using freeze-dried black raspberries. His research is documented in more than 350 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and he has edited several books.

Dr. Stoner joined MCW after nearly 20 years at the Ohio State University College of Medicine where he held the positions of Lucius Wing Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and Therapy, Associate Director for Basic Research and Director of the Chemoprevention Program in the Cancer Center, and Chair of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Public Health. In addition, he served as Director of the Laboratory of Cancer Etiology and Chemoprevention in the Arthur James Cancer Hospital and Richard Solove Research Institute.

Dr. Stoner has served on several grant and contract review committees including the NIH Chemical Pathology Study Section, the NCI Cancer Biology and Immunology Contract Review Committee, and as Chair of the NIH Chemo/Dietary Prevention Study Section and the American Cancer Society Advisory Committee on Carcinogenesis, Environment and Nutrition. He has also served as President of the Carcinogenesis and Molecular Biology Specialty Sections of the American Society of Toxicology and of the Ohio Valley Society of Toxicology. He has received numerous awards including the NIH MERIT award, and the Distinguished Alumni Award and Honorary Doctorate from Montana State University. He is also a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

General Research Interest

Chemoprevention of aerodigestive tract cancers with naturally occurring compounds and with berries.

Research Description

The Stoner laboratory has pioneered the use of a food-based approach for the prevention of esophageal and colon cancer in rodents and in humans using berries and berry constituents. Initially, we reported that black raspberry powder included in the diet of rodents inhibits carcinogen-induced cancer in the esophagus and colon.  The berries were found to increase carcinogen detoxification, reduce the growth rate of premalignant cells, inhibit inflammation and angiogenesis, and stimulate apoptosis and cell differentiation. Berries modulate the expression levels of many genes associated with these cellular functions. Biodirected-fractionation studies suggest that the most active inhibitory constitutents in berries are the anthocyanins; i.e., the compounds that impart color to berries. Human trials indicate that berry powders are well tolerated when consumed orally, and that berries inhibit the growth of colon cancers and regress rectal polyps in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis. Recent studies show that berries demethylate tumor suppressor genes in colon tumors.  The results of our studies on berries are summarized in more than 50 publications and book chapters.

Transinstitutional Work

Our laboratory has collaborated with numerous other laboratories both within Ohio State University and at other institutions.  At Ohio State, we collaborate extensively with the laboratory of Dr. Susan Mallery on the development and use of a black raspberry gel and other formulations for the treatment of oral dysplasia.  With Drs. Laura Kresty and John Fromkes, we evaluated the effects of berries on biomarkers of neoplasia in patients with Barrett’s esophagus.  In an ongoing study in China, we are collaborating with Dr. Tong Chen in evaluating the ability of berries to regress dysplastic lesions in the human esophagus.  With Drs. Mark Arnold and Edward Martin, we found that the short-term administration of black raspberries to colon cancer patients results in reducing the growth rate of colon cancer cells and influencing the expression of genes in the Wnt signaling pathway.  In a recent collaboration with Dr. Tim Huang, we have shown that berries demethylate tumor suppressor genes in human colon tumors and polyps resulting in their re-expression.  With Drs. Linda Lord and Steven Schwartz, we have shown that the pharmacokinetics of uptake and metabolism of berry anthocyanins in dogs are very similar to that in humans. In rodent studies, we collaborate with Drs. Christopher Weghorst and Bruce Casto on the ability of berries to inhibit carcinogen-induced oral cancer. Collaborative studies with Dr. Tatiana Oberyszyn have shown that an extract of black raspberries inhibits UV light-induced skin cancer in mice by reducing parameters of inflammation. We are beginning a collaboration with Drs. Mark Bechtel and Oberyszyn to evaluate whether the berry extracts will regress actinic keratotic lesions in human skin. At other institutions, we collaborate extensively with Dr. Stephen Hecht of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center on the biodirected fractionation of berries to identify the active cancer- inhibitory constituents. With Dr. Carol Burke and Henrietta Hennings of the Cleveland Clinic, we found that treatment of familial adenomatous patients with berries led to partial regression of rectal polyps. With Drs. Guang-Yu Yang of Northwestern University and Daniel Rosenberg of the University of Connecticut, we found that berries reduce colon cancer in rodent models of ulcerative colitis, in part, by influencing genes associated with inflammation. We have collaborated extensively with Dr. Alan Dombkowski of Wayne State University in the use of DNA microarray to evaluate the effects of berries on gene expression in rodent models of carcinogenesis.