Headed by Dr. Charles “Snuffy” Myers, AIDP’s
Charlottesville, Virginia team prides itself on its Southern
Charm. By partnering with health professionals in local communities
in the United States and abroad, we’re able to successfully
treat prostate cancer patients across the globe.
Dr. Charles “Snuffy” Myers
Medical oncologist and prostate cancer survivor, Dr Charles
"Snuffy" Myers was a key player in creating AZT,
Suranim, and Phenylacetate while working at the National Institute
of Health. With over 250 research papers published, Myers
is one of the leading developers of today's prostate cancer
canon on both the research and treatment side of the test
tube. Former Cancer Director at the University of Virginia,
Myers opened the American Institute for Diseases of the Prostate
in 2002 to provide men with the kind of comprehensive care
that saved his own life.
Dr Charles (Snuffy) MyersDr Myers was graduated near the top
of his class from the University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine in 1969. While at Penn, he worked in the laboratory
of Peter Nowell, the scientist who discovered the genetic
basis (the Philadelphia Chromosome) for one of the common
forms of leukemia. He also completed his internship and part
of a residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the
University of Pennsylvania between 1969 and 1971.
In 1971 he began training in medical oncology at the National
Cancer Institute with Vincent DeVita. This was an exciting
time to join NCI because DeVita had just demonstrated that
widespread metastatic Hodgkin's disease could be cured by
aggressive use of chemotherapy. During the three years Myers
trained there, DaVita demonstrated that chemotherapy cures
other types of lymphoma. Additionally, modern chemotherapy
was developed for ovarian and breast cancer at NIH during
that time. At the end of his fellowship, the first board certification
examinations in Medical Oncology were given, signaling the
birth of this specialty.
Dr. Myers decided to focus his research on the process of
cancer drug discovery and development. He was particularly
interested in using a process called Clinical Pharmacology
to devise ways to make cancer drugs safer and more effective.
In 1974, Myers joined the staff of the newly formed Clinical
Pharmacology Branch at NCI. By 1984, he had become Chief of
the Clinical Pharmacology Branch and remained in that position
for ten years. During his years in the Clinical Pharmacology
Branch, Dr. Myers made a number of contributions to cancer
In the late 1970s, Myers became increasingly interested in
ovarian cancer. This particular cancer is unusual in that
it often remains confined to the peritoneal cavity, rather
than spreading to other parts of the body. This had led a
number of investigators to administer cancer drugs directly
into the peritoneal cavity in an attempt to attain the highest
drug concentrations. Despite the superficial appeal of this
approach, the results were not impressive. Myers addressed
this issue in a series of 14 papers. He established the science
and technology needed for effectively administering cancer
drugs to the peritoneal cavity. This work provided the basis
for this area of research and spawned an entire field of clinical
The cancer drug Doxorubicin is widely used in the treatment
of breast and other cancers. Unfortunately, it causes irreversible
heart damage that often proves fatal. Myers demonstrated that
this toxicity resulted from oxidative damage to the heart
muscle. In short, Doxorubicin damages the heart because it
binds to iron. The resulting drug-iron complex converts hydrogen
peroxide into chemicals that destroy the heart muscle.
His work led to the discovery of an antidote, Desreoxain that
is now FDA- approved for the prevention of Doxorubicin-induced
In the early 1980s, a new fatal disease emerged that was characterized
by a complete failure of the immune system. It quickly became
evident that many of the patients with this disease were homosexual
men and that the disease appeared to be spread by sexual contact
or blood transfusions. The cause proved to be a new group
of viruses called Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV. Sam
Broder, a close friend and skilled immunologist, decided to
mount an effort to discover drugs that kill or arrest the
spread of the virus. He recruited Myers as the lead pharmacologist.
In quick succession, the team identified two drugs that slow
or arrest the growth of HIV – suramin and AZT. Of these
two, only AZT eventually proved of sufficient value to warrant
FDA approval as treatment for HIV infection.
During the HIV clinical trials, Dr. Myers became well acquainted
with suramin and its interesting properties as an anticancer
agent. This interest focused on a process called cell cycle
All cells are able to grow or remain stagnant, depending on
the needs of the body. For example, if you remove half of
someone's liver, the remaining liver tissue will rapidly grow
until the liver reaches the correct size and then stop. Thus,
a key characteristic of normal tissues is strict control of
cell growth. Cancer cells differ because their growth is not
controlled: once cancer cells start growing, they stop only
when they die or the patient dies.
In the early 1980s, it became apparent that growth of normal
tissues was controlled by the production of small proteins
called growth factors. Some cancers occur because a growth
factor is produced erratically. This was initially demonstrated
in a study that revealed that the simian sarcoma virus caused
sarcomas, a cancer of scar tissue, by triggering over production
of a growth factor called platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF).
Suramin was shown to block PDGF and cause simian sarcoma virus
infected cells to return to normal behavior.
Dr. Myers was aware that suramin also blocked another growth
factor, fibroblast growth factor or FGF. When it was reported
that FGF overproduction was characteristic of prostate cancer,
Myers decided to investigate whether suramin was active against
The first patient was a young policeman from New Orleans who
had failed hormonal therapy under the care of Dr. Labrie,
the discoverer of flutamide (Eulexin). When Myers first saw
this gentleman, his prostate cancer had spread to many of
the lymph nodes throughout his body. Amazingly, during the
first course of suramin, most of his prostate cancer disappeared!
Myers went on to document that about one third of men with
hormone-resistant prostate cancer respond to suramin. Suramin
is now in the latter stages of drug development and may soon
receive FDA-approval as treatment for prostate cancer.
Encouraged by the results obtained with suramin, Myers initiated
a discovery program for drugs effective against prostate cancer.
This group, formed at NCI, continues to discover a number
of additional drugs with promise in the treatment of prostate
and other cancers. These drugs include phenylacetate, phenylbutyrate
In 1994, Myers accepted a position as Director of the Cancer
Center at the University of Virginia. At that time, the Cancer
Center was a Basic Science Center. In the five years after
his arrival, the Center doubled its funding from NCI and is
now an approved Clinical Center. During this same time, UVA
became one of the leading centers for prostate cancer research.
Myers’s major activities revolved around prostate cancer
treatment and research. His laboratory research was focused
on why a diet high in animal fat appears to foster progression
in prostate cancer. His research group demonstrated that a
fatty acid, arachidonic acid, common in meat, dairy products,
and egg yolks promotes the survival and growth of human prostate
cancer cells. They showed that arachidonic acid is converted
to a hormone, 5-HETE, which appears to foster the spread of
Dr. Myers has long been popular among prostate cancer patients
as a speaker because of his ability to explain science and
medicine in easy-to-understand language. For some years his
other responsibilities limited the number of speaking engagements
he could accept. In an attempt to address this problem, Myers
and his wife, Rose, started a newsletter called Prostate Forum
in the summer of 1996.
Dr. Myers left the University of Virginia on Feb. 15, 2002
to establish the American Institute for Diseases of the Prostate
in Charlottesville, VA. The Institute focuses on providing
comprehensive management of prostate cancer. Dr. Myers tailors
treatment according to the needs of each patient, based on
his knowledge of the disease and his own experience as a patient.
He began to see patients on Feb. 18, 2002.
L. Overstreet, RN, MSN, FNP-C
Dana is a Family Nurse Practitioner who joined Dr. Myers at
AIDP in August 2010. Dana graduated from the University of
Virginia School of Nursing in 1993 with her Bachelor of Science
in Nursing and she received her Master1s of Science in Nursing
and Family Nurse Practitioner in August of 1999 from UVa.
Dana worked at the University of Virginia as a Registered
Nurse from 1994 until 2002. Her experience includes solid
organ transplantation, medical intensive care unit and critical
care service line including the emergency room, medical, surgical,
pediatric, neurological and cardiothoracic intensive care
units, recovery room, bone marrow transplant unit and the
Dana then joined the Department of Urology at the University
of Virginia in February 2002 to practice as a Nurse Practitioner
for the next nine years. While in the Department of Urology
she evaluated, diagnosed and managed urologic patients1 health
care independently and in collaboration with the attending
physicians. Dana also coordinated and facilitated group Shared
Medical Appointments with attending surgeon. She has expertise
in managing neurogenic bladder, urinary incontinence, erectile
dysfunction, interstitial cystitis, BPH, male pelvic pain
syndrome and kidney stones. Dana provided patient education
on medication management, dietary changes, behavioral changes
and corrective surgeries for complicated and specific urologic
conditions. In addition, she performed and documented comprehensive
history and physical examination on adult preoperative urologic
patients and provided anesthesia screenings prior to surgery.
Dana has expertise in pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation and
videourodynamic testing and prescribed and taught individual
treatment therapies for patients. While in the Urology Department
she was the lead author on several scholarly articles and
book chapter on bladder cancer treatment as well as coauthor
on other published articles in professional journals.
Now having partnered with Dr. Myers as his Nurse Practitioner,
Dana hopes to extend his expert knowledge on prostate cancer
management, nutrition, exercise, pharmacology and meticulous
medical management to more patients. Dana is available to
consult with on specific urologic complications as well and
prescribe treatment planning.
Dana has two wonderful children Jack and Alexa and a black
golden doodle named Jet. She enjoys watching her children
play sports and hiking the local mountains with Jet.
Maxine has six years of medical assistant and medical technician
experience. She came to AIDP from a local assisted living
facility. She is currently attending the local community college
to obtain her nursing degree. She is enthusiastic and energetic
about working with patients.