Professor Johann de Bono is the Director of the Drug Development Unit at the Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden hospital. Professor de Bono leads the Prostate Cancer Team at the ICR, and specialises in developing new molecular targeted therapies to improve treatment for prostate cancer patients. He has been involved in developing more than 100 potential new drugs over the past decade, several of which are now available to patients, and is currently evaluating more than 20 drugs in early clinical trials. He recently led the pivotal Phase III trials for the prostate cancer drugs abiraterone and cabazitaxel, which both showed an overall survival benefit to advanced, castration resistant, prostate cancer patients.
Professor de Bono was born and raised in Malta, and graduated from Glasgow University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery. He became a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1992, and completed his PhD and MSc at the Beatson Institute of Cancer Research in Glasgow in 1997. He trained as a medical oncologist between 1996 and 2000, spending part of the time learning about clinical trial design in Seattle, United States. This training led to three years at the Institute for Drug Development in San Antonio, Texas, which Professor de Bono says was an invaluable experience that gave him an “outstanding blueprint” for running similar programs. Professor de Bono joined the ICR and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 2003 and now holds the role of Professor in Experimental Cancer Medicine and Consultant Medical Oncologist. He took over from Professor Stan Kaye as Head of the Drug Development Unit in 2011. He was awarded the Malta Order of Merit in 2010.
As well as research, Professor de Bono is involved in training and supervising PhD and MD (Res) research students and treating patients with castration resistant prostate cancer. He is the ESMO Director of the Flims Workshop on ‘Methods in Clinical Cancer Research’. He has published more than 170 scientifically peer reviewed manuscripts in journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, The British Medical Journal, The Cancer Journal, Lancet Oncology, Nature, Nature Cancer Reviews, The Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Annals of Oncology, The British Journal of Cancer and others.
Professor de Bono has received many awards during his career including a Cancer Research Campaign PhD Clinical Research Fellowship; American Society of Clinical Oncology Merit and Young Investigator Awards; The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinician Scientist Award and a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow Travel Award. He holds editorial roles at peer-reviewed journals and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He has served as the UK European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) representative and has served on the ESMO Board of Directors as well as the NCRI Prostate Cancer Clinical Studies Group.
Professor de Bono is married to Hazel, who is Scottish and works as a family physician, and has three children. He enjoys playing football and watching Liverpool FC, jazz, blues and classical music, and cycling, hill-walking and chess.