I am a pediatric oncologist who specializes in the care of children, teenagers, and young adults with brain and eye tumors, including medulloblastoma (the most common malignant brain tumor in children) and retinoblastoma (a rare eye tumor in children). I also treat children and teenagers with melanoma, and children and adults with a rare white blood cell disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.
In my clinical research, my colleagues and I are seeking to develop more-effective therapies with fewer and less-severe side effects. For example, we are exploring a new treatment regimen for patients with medulloblastoma that is intended to reduce side effects by limiting the amount of radiation given to areas of the brain without cancer.
I am also working to develop new treatments for retinoblastoma, a rare eye tumor that occurs in children. These include the use of intensive therapy for children whose retinoblastoma has metastasized (spread outside of the eye) and local chemotherapy for those with advanced cancer in the eye.
In addition to patient care and research, I am one of the lead attendings on the Faculty Fellow Team. The team works closely with young doctors training in this subspecialty to help them learn how best to identify the individual needs of patients and manage the care of children with malignancies.
Nationally, I am on the Children’s Oncology Group Retinoblastoma and Brain Tumor Committees, and I serve as the Principal Investigator for national clinical trials dealing with these tumors.
I find it very rewarding to work with patients and their families and to tailor and explain to them their treatment options, guiding them in complex decision-making or exploring various alternatives. Our goal is to cure the cancer while leaving the patient with as normal a life as possible.
- Clinical Expertise: Brain Tumors; Retinoblastoma
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, Duke University School of Medicine
- Residencies: Duke University Medical Center
- Fellowships: Duke University; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Board Certifications: Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.
Clinical Trials Led by Ira J. Dunkel
- A Phase I Study of AZD6244 in Pediatric Patients with Recurrent or Refractory Low-Grade Glioma (PBTC-029)
- A Phase I Study of Vemurafenib in Adolescents with Inoperable Stage IIIC/IV Melanoma with V600 BRAF Mutations
- A Phase I/IIA Study of Dabrafenib in Children with Advanced BRAF Mutation-Positive Solid Tumors
- A Phase II Study of Ipilimumab in Children and Adolescents with Stage III/IV Inoperable Melanoma
- A Phase II Study of Response-Based Radiation Therapy for Patients with Localized Germ Cell Tumors of the Central Nervous System
- A Study of the Safety and Preliminary Effectiveness of Pembrolizumab to Treat Children and Adolescents with Recurrent or Persistent High-Grade Glioma or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma
- Neuropsychological, Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Outcomes in Children with Cancer (ALTE07C1)
Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by Ira J. Dunkel
- A Phase I Study of Convection-Enhanced Delivery of 124I-8H9 for Patients with Non-Progressive Diffuse Pontine Gliomas Previously Treated with Radiation Therapy
- A Phase I Study of Palbociclib in Younger Patients with Recurrent or Persistent Brain or Spinal Cord Tumors
- A Phase I/II Study of Veliparib (ABT-888) Given with Radiation Therapy and then Given with Temozolomide in Children with Newly Diagnosed Diffuse Pontine Glioma
- A Phase II Study of Pegylated Interferon Alfa-2b (PEGIntron) in Children with Inoperable Craniopharyngioma After Prior Therapy
- A Phase II Study of Temozolomide plus Irinotecan with or without Bevacizumab in Children with Recurrent or Refractory Medulloblastoma or PNET