Each year, tens of thousands of children and teens are diagnosed with cancer. Dr. James Amatruda and his colleagues at Children’s Health℠ are dedicated to helping cure as many of them as possible.
Dr. Amatruda is an associate professor of pediatrics, molecular biology and internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and an attending physician in the Cancer and Blood Disorder Program, one of the nation’s best programs. The success of the program is based on exceptional clinical care and leadership in pediatric cancer research, particularly in the biology of childhood cancers.
“Astronomical progress has been made in the past few years in deciphering the ‘wiring diagram’ of cancer cells so that we can understand how a normal cell begins to grow out of control, leading to the formation of a tumor,” explains Dr. Amatruda. “This is exciting, because we can begin to choose medicines that are targeted to the cancer cells specifically. We have also made progress in harnessing the patient’s own immune system to treat a tumor.”
Dr. Amatruda is a physician-scientist who divides his time between his cancer research laboratory and the clinic. He was drawn to cancer medicine because of the opportunity to apply his interest in research with his desire for patient care.
“As oncologists, we have the privilege of getting to know patients and trying to help them at a very intense time of their lives,” he says. “You only have to meet these children and their families to want to do everything in your power to help them.”
Dr. Amatruda is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He earned his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine and completed an internship in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He completed a fellowship in molecular genetics at Consglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Rome and a fellowship in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
He is associate division director for research in the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology and assistant director of the Medical Scientist Training Program at UT Southwestern. He also serves as chair of the Germ Cell Tumor Biology and Rare Tumors Biology committees in the Children’s Oncology Group.
Outside of his practice he enjoys family time with his wife and son, exploring Texas, and outdoor sports including running, cycling and hiking.
Education and Training
- Medical School
- Washington University School of Medicine (1993)
- Brigham & Women's Hospital (1996), Internal Medicine
- Boston Children's Hospital (2004), Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham & Women's (1999), Hematology & Oncology
Consglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (1997), Cell and Molecular Biology
Departments and Programs
- Ewing sarcoma
- Germ cell tumors
- Pediatric cancers
- Wilms tumor
- Zebrafish models of human disease
- Recurrent internal tandem duplications of BCOR in clear cell sarcoma of the kidney. Roy A, Kumar V, Zorman B, Fang E, Haines KM, Doddapaneni H, Hampton OA, White S, Bavle AA, Patel NR, Eldin KW, John Hicks M, Rakheja D, Leavey PJ, Skapek SX, Amatruda JF, Nuchtern JG, Chintagumpala MM, Wheeler DA, Plon SE, Sumazin P, Parsons DW. Nat Commun. 2015 Nov
- Is adjuvant chemotherapy indicated in ovarian immature teratomas? A combined data analysis from the Malignant Germ Cell Tumor International Collaborative. Pashankar F, Hale JP, Dang H, Krailo M, Brady WE, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Nicholson JC, Murray MJ, Bilmire DF, Stoneham S, Arul GS, Olson TA, Stark D, Shaikh F, Amatruda JF, Covens A, Gershenson DM, Frazier AL. Cancer. 2015 Oct 20.
- Pediatric and Adolescent Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors: The Road to Collaboration. Olson TA, Murray MJ, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Nicholson JC, Billmire DF, Krailo MD, Dang HM, Amatruda JF, Thornton CM, Arul GS, Stoneham SJ, Pashankar F, Stark D, Shaikh F, Gershenson DM, Covens A, Hurteau J, Stenning SP, Feldman DR, Grimison PS, Huddart RA, Sweeney C, Powles T, Lopes LF, dos Santos Agular S, Chinnaswamy G, Khaleel S, Abouelnaga S, Hale JP, Frazier AL. J Clin Oncol. 2015 Sep 20;33(27):3018-28.
- Surveillance after initial surgery for Stage I pediatric and adolescent boys with malignant testicular germ cell tumors: Report from the Children's Oncology Group. Rescorla FJ, Ross JH, Billmire DF, Dicken BJ, Villaluna D, Davis MM, Krailo M, Cullen JW, Olson TA, Egler RA, Amatruda JF, Rodrigues-Galindo C, Frazier AL. J Pediatr Surg. 2015 Jun;50(6):1000-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2015.03.026. Epub 2015 Mar 14.
- Revised risk classification for pediatric extracranial germ cell tumors based on 25 years of clinical trial data from the United kingdom and United States., Frazier AL, Hale JP, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Dang H, Olson T, Murray MJ, Amatruda JF, Thornton C, Arul GS, Billmire D, Shaikh F, Pashankar F, Stoneham S, Krailo M, Nicholson JC J. Clin. Oncol. 2015 Jan 33 2 195-201
- Autophagy is essential for cardiac morphogenesis during vertebrate development., Lee E, Koo Y, Ng A, Wei Y, Luby-Phelps K, Juraszek A, Xavier RJ, Cleaver O, Levine B, Amatruda JF Autophagy 2014 Jan 10 4
- Somatic mutations in DROSHA and DICER1 impair microRNA biogenesis through distinct mechanisms in Wilms tumours., Rakheja D, Chen KS, Liu Y, Shukla AA, Schmid V, Chang TC, Khokhar S, Wickiser JE, Karandikar NJ, Malter JS, Mendell JT, Amatruda JF Nat Commun 2014 2 4802
Awards and Honors
- Outstanding Teacher, MS1 Class (2014)
- Outstanding Teacher, MS1 Class (2013)
- Regent's Outstanding Teaching Award
- University of Texas System (2013)
- Outstanding Teacher, MS1 Class (2012)
- Outstanding Teacher, MS1 Class (2011)
- Outstanding Teacher, MS1 Class (2010)
- Health Care Heroes Award, Dallas Business Journal (2009)
- William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation Scholar (2003)
- Arnold Dunne Award (1994)
- Alpha Omega Alpha (1993)