Leonidas C. Platanias, MD, PhD

Leonidas C. Platanias Dr. Platanias leads the Lurie Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and founding member of NCCN. Prior to his appointment as director, he served as the first deputy director of the Lurie Cancer Center from 2002 to 2013. He is the Lurie Family Professor of Oncology and a professor of medicine and biochemistry and molecular genetics. He is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology, and started his research career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, followed by clinical training in medicine in New York, and hematology-oncology at the University of Chicago. 

Platanias’s research work focuses on cytokine signaling pathways in malignant cells and the targeting of such pathways for the treatment of leukemias. He has published more than 320 papers and his research has been continuously funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for over 25 years. He is the recipient of R01, U54, T32, and P30 awards from the NCI and an I01 Merit Review (VA). His work is recognized by numerous awards, including the Seymour and Vivian Milstein Award for outstanding contributions in cytokine research. A member of various scientific societies, Dr. Platanias served as president of the International Cytokine Society and in other national leadership positions. He serves as associate editor or on the editorial board of several scientific journals and has chaired or been a member of several NIH, VA ,and DOD study sections. He is currently a member of the parent committee, Subcommittee A, Cancer Centers at the NCI and serves on the external advisory boards of several cancer centers, including the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, Albert Einstein Cancer Center, University of Illinois Cancer Center, and Karmanos Cancer Institute, where he is chair. 

Since Dr. Platanias became director in 2014, the Lurie Cancer Center has experienced dramatic growth under his leadership with an over 50-percent increase in NCI funding, nearly double the number of patients enrolled in early-phase trials, and the recruitment of over 100 new faculty. Under his leadership, the Lurie Cancer Center received the highest rating in its history from the NCI, an overall "Exceptional," with a near-perfect score of 12 on the 2018 competitive renewal of its Cancer Center Support Grant.