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H. Richard Alexander Jr. M.D.

  • University of Maryland Greenbaum Cancer Center
  • 1-800-888-8823

Associate Chairman for Clinical Research in the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and surgical oncologist at the University of Maryland’s Greenbaum Cancer Center, Dr. H. Richard Alexander, Jr., MD is renowned for his research work in the field of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including peritoneal mesothelioma.

A graduate of Washington D.C.’s Georgetown University School of Medicine, Dr. Alexander completed a residency in general surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital and a fellowship in surgical oncology at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Board certified in surgery, Alexander spent an impressive 16 years at the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he served as the deputy director of the institute’s Center for Cancer Research as well as chief of the surgical metabolism section and chairman of the gastrointestinal malignancies section. During that time, Dr. Alexander performed groundbreaking work that centered on new treatments for individuals with aggressive, hard-to-treat cancers including peritoneal mesothelioma, cancer of the limbs, and primary and metastatic liver cancer.

As a practicing surgeon, Dr. Alexander declares his clinical interests to be many of the same things he focused on during his research career at NCI, including pancreatic cancer, peritoneal cancer, colorectal cancer, primary and metastatic liver cancer, and endocrine malignancies such as thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and endocrine tumors that arise in the pancreas.

Alexander’s research interests continue and still focus on developing new treatments for advanced solid organ cancers. Currently, he is primarily focused on trials that center of a therapy known as isolated hepatic perfusion, a technique that Alexander helped perfect when working at the National Cancer Institute. This perfusion technique allows high doses of chemotherapy to be delivered directly to the affected solid organ (i.e. the liver) and uses a “closed loop” by-pass technique that spares other organs from damage caused by the chemotherapy drugs. The technique also aims to reduce side affects.

Other subjects that have peaked Alexander’s interests are investigations into early detection methods of cancers that generally are not diagnosed until later stages (such as mesothelioma) and preventive surgeries for those who are prone to some of these same types of cancer. He also works with gene expression profiling, which allows doctors to take a close look at the molecular makeup of a patient’s tumor, therefore allowing him/her to design a treatment regimen to address that specific tumor.

A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), Dr. Alexander is also a member of the Society of University Surgeons, the Association for Academic Surgery, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, the American Surgical Association, and the Society of Surgical Oncology.

As a researcher, Dr. Alexander has contributed more than 200 articles to the most revered peer-reviewed journals in his field. He also serves as a reviewer for the New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Annals of Surgery, and Surgery and currently sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Source: University of Maryland Greenbaum Cancer Center

  • University of Maryland Greenbaum Cancer Center. Physician Profile.

Last modified: December 24, 2010.