physician photo

Dirk Spitzer, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Surgery
    Section of Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic and GI Surgery
    Department of Surgery

Graduate School

PhD-Molecular Biology, Technical University Carolo-Wilhelmina zu Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany, 1999

Post Doctoral Education

Postdoctoral Scientist, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany, 2001

Postdoctoral Scientist, Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, St. Louis, Mo., 2006

Honors and Awards

2006: Travel Fellowship Award, XXIst International Complement Workshop, Beijing, China

2015: Invited speaker and chair, 11th Annual PEGS, Essential Protein Engineering Summit, Boston, MA

2015: Featured Researcher (Missouri Researcher Spotlight), Missouri Cures

Research Interests

Studies on the TRAIL/death receptor biology. – Basic research.

Development of targeted TRAIL-based biologics (TR3) for pancreatic and ovarian cancer. – Translational. Siteman Cancer Center, NIH (R21) and ICTS.

Development of targeted small molecule drugs based on the sigma-2 receptor for pancreatic and ovarian cancer. – Translational, Siteman Cancer Center (CFF-Team, 2015), NIH (R01).

Selected Publications

Hashim YM, Spitzer D, Vangveravong S, Hornick M, Garg G, Hornick JR, Goedegebuure P, Mach RH, Hawkins WG. Targeted pancreatic cancer therapy with the small molecule drug conjugate SW IV-134. Mol. Onc. Mar 26. pii: S1574-7891(14)00053-2. doi: 10.1016/j.molonc.2014.03.005. [Epub ahead of print], 2014.

Garg G, Vangveravong S, Zeng Z, Collins L, Hornick M, Hashim Y, Piwnica-Worms D, Powell MA, Mutch DG, Mach RH, Hawkins WG, Spitzer D. Conjugation to a SMAC mimetic potentiates sigma-2 ligand induced tumor cell death in ovarian cancer. Mol. Cancer, Mar 7;13:50. doi: 10.1186/1476-4598-13-50, 2014.

Garg G, Gibbs J, Belt B, Powell MA, Mutch DG, Goedegebuure P, Collins L, Piwnica-Worms D, Hawkins WG, Spitzer, D. Novel treatment option for MUC16-positive malignancies with the targeted TRAIL-based fusion protein Meso-TR3. BMC Cancer, 14(1):35, 2014.

Zhong H, Sanchez C, Spitzer D, Plambeck-Suess S, Gibbs J, Hawkins WG, Denardo D, Gao F, Pufahl RA, Lockhart AC, Xu M, Linehan D, Weber J, Wang-Gillam A. Synergistic effects of concurrent blockade of PI3K and MEK pathways in pancreatic cancer preclinical models. PLoS One 8(10):e77243. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077243, 2013.

Cheney EE, Wise EL, Bui JD, Schreiber RD, Carayannopoulos LN, Spitzer D, Zafirova B, Polic B, Shaw AS, Markiewicz MA. A dual function of NKG2D ligands in NK-cell activation. Eur. J. Immunol. 2012 Jun 28. doi:10.1002/eji.201141849. [Epub ahead of print]

Spitzer D, Simon PO Jr, Kashiwagi H, Xu J, Zeng C, Vangveravong S, Zhou D, Chang K, McDunn JE, Hornick JR, Goedegebuure PS, Hotchkiss RS, Mach RH, Hawkins WG. Use of multifunctional sigma-2 receptor ligand conjugates to trigger cancer-selective cell death signaling. Cancer Res. 2011 Nov 7. [Epub ahead of print]

Xu J, Zeng C, Chu W, Pan F, Rothfuss JM, Zhang F, Tu Z, Zhou D, Zeng D, Vangveravong S, Johnston F, Spitzer D, Chang KC, Hotchkiss RH, Hawkins WG, Wheeler KT, Mach RH. Identification of the PGRMC1 protein complex as the putative sigma-2 receptor binding site. Nat. Commun. 2:380, 2011.

Spitzer D, McDunn JE, Plambeck-Suess S, Goedegebuure PS, Hotchkiss RS, Hawkins WG. A genetically encoded multifunctional TRAIL trimer facilitates cell-specific targeting and tumor cell killing. Mol. Cancer Ther. 2010;9:2142-2151,

Zaitsev S, Spitzer D, Murciano JC, Ding BS, Tliba S, Kowalska MA, Oscar A, Kuo A, Stepanova V, Atkinson JP, Poncz M, Cines DB, Muzykantov VR. Sustained thromboprophylaxis mediated by an RBC-targeted pro-urokinase zymogen activated at the site of clot formation. Blood 2010;115:5241-5248.

Richards A, Kavanagh D, Jen J, van den Maagdenberg AMJM, Bertram P, Spitzer D, et al. C-terminal truncations in human 3'-5' DNA exonuclease TREX1 cause autosomal dominant retinal vasculopathy with cerebral leukodystrophy. Nat. Genet. 2007;39:1068-1070.

Spitzer D, Mitchell LM, Atkinson JP, Hourcade DE. Properdin can initiate complement activation by binding specific target surfaces and providing a platform for de novo convertase assembly. J. Immunol. 2007;179:2600-2608.

Spitzer D, Wu X, Ma X, Xu L, Ponder KP, Atkinson JP. Cutting edge: Treatment of complement regulatory protein deficiency by in vivo gene therapy. J. Immunol. 2006;177:4953-4956.

Weissenbach M, Weber C, Spitzer D, Wirth D, Heinrich PC, Schaper F. Interleukin-6 is a direct mediator of T cell migration. Eur. J. Immunol. 2004;342895-2906.

MacLeod RAF, Spitzer D, Bar-Am I, Gosden J, Kaufmann M, Drexler HG. Karyotypic dissection of Hodgkin’s disease cell lines reveals ectopic subtelomers and ribosomal DNA at sites of multiple jumping translocations and genomic amplification. Leukemia. 2000;14:1803-1814.

Spitzer D, Hauser H, Wirth D. Complement protected amphotropic retroviruses from murine packaging cells. Hum. Gene Ther. 1999;10:1893-1902.

PubMed for Dirk Spitzer, PhD

Editorial Positions

Reviewer (ad hoc):

  • The Journal of Immunology
  • Journal of Gene Medicine
  • Animal Science Journal
  • OncoTargets and Therapy
  • Medicinal Research Reviews