Karel Pacak, M.D.,D.Sc.,Ph.D.
Section on Medical Neuroendocrinology
We conduct patient-oriented research into the etiology, pathophysiology, genetics, diagnosis, localization, and treatment of pheochromocytoma (PHEO) and paraganglioma (PGL). Projects include both translational research—applying basic science knowledge to clinical diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment—and “reverse translation research” by which clinical findings lead to new concepts for pursuit by basic researchers in the laboratory. Our goals are to (i) establish new and improved methods and strategies for novel diagnostic and localization approaches to PHEO and PGL; (ii) explain the molecular and cellular basis for varying clinical presentations of PHEO and PGL and establish the pathways of tumorigenesis; (iii) search for new molecular and genetic markers for diagnosis and treatment of malignant PHEO and PGL; (iv) introduce new therapeutic options for malignant/metastatic PHEO and PGL; and (v) facilitate new and improved collaborations and interdisciplinary studies. To achieve these goals, we base our strategy on multidisciplinary collaborations with investigators from several NIH Institutes and outside medical centers. We link a patient-oriented component with two bench-level components. The patient-oriented component (medical neuroendocrinology) is the driving force for our hypotheses and discoveries. The two bench-level components (tumor pathogenesis and chemistry; biomarkers) emphasize, first, technologies of basic research tailored for pathway and target discovery and, second, the further development of discoveries into clinical applications.
Dr. Karel Pacak graduated summa cum laude from Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic in 1984. In 1990 he began his postdoctoral fellowship at NINDS. Then in 1995 Dr. Pacak began his residency in internal medicine at the Washington Hospital Center under Dr. L. Wartofsky, followed by a fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at NIH. He was Board certified in 1998 and 1999 in those disciplines. In 1998 he established a new Program for Neuroendocrine Tumors focusing on pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma at NICHD. He received his Ph.D. in1993 and his D.Sc. in 1998 in the field of neuroendocrinology from Charles University. In 2006 he was awarded a lifetime professorship in Internal Medicine at Charles University. Dr. Pacak is an internationally recognized expert in the diagnosis and treatment of neuroendocrine tumors, especially pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. Dr. Pacak also established the International Symposia on Pheochromocytoma. He also helped co-found a new Asian Alliance for the Study of Neuroendocrine Tumors in 2010. He is a recipient of numerous awards including the Peter Heimann Memorial Award at Yale University, International Association of Endocrine Surgeons; NIH Director's Mentoring Award, Award for Cure from Pheo & Para Alliance, NICHD Director's Award of Merit, Pincus Taft Memorial Lecture the Highest Award from Endocrine Society of Australia, Jessenius Gold Medal from Slovak Academy of Sciences, and Outstanding Clinical Endocrinologist from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Dr. Pacak is the author of more than 400 scientific peer-reviewed articles, 120 book chapters, and 5 books.
Jha A, Ling A, Millo C, Gupta G, Viana B, Lin FI, Herscovitch P, Adams KT, Taïeb D, Metwalli AR, Linehan WM, Brofferio A, Stratakis CA, Kebebew E, Lodish M, Civelek AC, Pacak K. Superiority of 68Ga-DOTATATE over 18F-FDG and anatomic imaging in the detection of succinate dehydrogenase mutation (SDHx )-related pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma in the pediatric population. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2018;45(5):787-797.
Crona J, Taïeb D, Pacak K. New Perspectives on Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma: Toward a Molecular Classification. Endocr Rev. 2017;38(6):489-515.
Janssen I, Chen CC, Zhuang Z, Millo CM, Wolf KI, Ling A, Lin FI, Adams KT, Herscovitch P, Feelders RA, Fojo AT, Taieb D, Kebebew E, Pacak K. Functional Imaging Signature of Patients Presenting with Polycythemia/Paraganglioma Syndromes. J Nucl Med. 2017;58(8):1236-1242.
Fishbein L, Leshchiner I, Walter V, Danilova L, Robertson AG, Johnson AR, Lichtenberg TM, Murray BA, Ghayee HK, Else T, Ling S, Jefferys SR, de Cubas AA, Wenz B, Korpershoek E, Amelio AL, Makowski L, Rathmell WK, Gimenez-Roqueplo AP, Giordano TJ, Asa SL, Tischler AS, Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network., Pacak K, Nathanson KL, Wilkerson MD. Comprehensive Molecular Characterization of Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma. Cancer Cell. 2017;31(2):181-193.
Jochmanova I, Wolf KI, King KS, Nambuba J, Wesley R, Martucci V, Raygada M, Adams KT, Prodanov T, Fojo AT, Lazurova I, Pacak K. SDHB-related pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma penetrance and genotype-phenotype correlations. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2017;143(8):1421-1435.
Related Scientific Focus Areas
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Genetics and Genomics
This page was last updated on October 15th, 2020