Prof. Dr. Athanasios Kyritsis
Associate Editor: Athanassios P. Kyritsis
Dr. Kyritsis is currently Professor and Chairman of Neurology at the University Hospital of Ioannina and Director of the Neurosurgical Research Institute of the University of Ioannina, Greece. He received his MD from the Medical School of University of Athens, Greece, in 1978 and his DSc degree from the same University in 1988. After he served his obligation to the Greek Army from 1979 to 1981 as medical officer, he moved in 1981 to Bethesda, Maryland for a fellowship at the National Eye Institute, NIH, where he was trained into basic biochemistry and biology and did research on retinoblastoma in vitro. From 1986 to 1990 he underwent a residency in Neurology at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Subsequently, from 1990 to 1992 he undertook a clinical fellowship in the Department of Neuro-Oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and then he served as Assistant and Associate Professor in the same department from 1992 to 1999. In 1999 he moved to the Department of Neurology at the University of Ioannina, Greece, as Professor and Chairman of Neurology.
The genetic contribution in the development of neural tumors was one of the first targets of his research starting at NIH with the investigation of the cell of origin of retinoblastoma. During his tenure at the MDACC, he was heavily involved in characterization of various genetic abnormalities in gliomas and their prognostic significance. Furthermore, a major direction of his research was shaped towards using the genetic abnormalities in gliomas to develop possible gene therapies, employing adenoviruses carrying tumor suppressor genes. In addition, he developed during 1995-1999 a mutant adenovirus (Delta-24) capable of infecting and killing glioma cells but with no harm to normal brain cells. This virus which was developed with the help of a postdoctoral fellow in his lab, Dr. Juan Fueyo, is currently in clinical trials in cancer patients.
His recent research is focusing on the contribution of a superfast cell cycle analysis by flow cytometry during surgery that could differentiate low-grade from high-grade gliomas and benign from atypical/anaplastic meningiomas. Based on this work, his research group is interested in the development of a device which in real-time could determine the tumor margins during surgery, a possible breakthrough in intraoperative guidance for brain tumor removal.