Richard Hurwitz, MD

Associate Affiliate Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist


Dr. Richard Hurwitz received his M.D. degree from Albany Medical College. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Hurwitz completed his residency and fellowship at the University of Minnesota. He studies the potential use of gene therapy for the treatment of ocular diseases.

He has developed a treatment for retinoblastoma using suicide gene therapy that is currently in clinical trials. To further refine this therapeutic option, Dr. Hurwitz is studying the cellular origin of retinoblastoma and the differences between invasive and non-invasive forms of the disease.

In addition, he is also using in vivo models of retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration to develop gene therapy treatments for retinal degenerative diseases. The mechanism of adenoviral-mediated transgene expression in the ocular environment is being explored with the goals of identifying molecular targets to modulate adenoviral-mediated gene therapy for both retinoblastoma and retinal degenerative diseases.


Description of Research

The Hurwitz laboratory studies the use of gene therapy in the treatment of ocular disease. Retinoblastoma is the most common malignant intraocular tumor of children and is caused by mutations in the retinoblastoma gene.

Using a model of this disease, they have shown that suicide gene therapy using an adenoviral vector to deliver the herpes thymidine kinase gene followed by treatment with ganciclovir can ablate tumors. Based on these studies, an FDA- and RAC-approved clinical trial was opened to investigate the use of this therapy for children with retinoblastoma.

Areas Of Expertise

Hematology Retinoblastoma Gene therapy

Intravenous injection of oncolytic picornavirus SVV-001 prolongs animal survival in a panel of primary tumor-based orthotopic xenograft mouse models of pediatric glioma
Liu, Z, Zhao, X, Mao, H, Baxter, PA, Huang, Y, Yu, L, Wadhwa, L, Su, JM, Adesina, A, Perlaky, L, Hurwitz, M, Idamakanti, N, Police, SR, Hallenbeck, PL, Hurwitz, RL, Lau, CC, Chintagumpala, M, Blaney, SM & Li, XN 2013, Neuro-Oncology, vol 15, no. 9, pp. 1173-1185. DOI:

Tumorspheres but Not Adherent Cells Derived from Retinoblastoma Tumors Are of Malignant Origin
Bond, WS, Akinfenwa, PY, Perlaky, L, Hurwitz, MY, Hurwitz, RL & Chévez-Barrios, P 2013, PLoS ONE, vol 8, no. 6, e63519. DOI:

A new vision of mesenchymal stromal cells
Hurwitz, RL 2012, Molecular Therapy, vol 20, no. 11, pp. 2017-2018. DOI:

The liberation of CD44 intracellular domain modulates adenoviral vector transgene expression
Ildefonso, CJ, Bond, WS, Al-Tawashi, AR, Hurwitz, MY & Hurwitz, RL 2012, Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol 287, no. 39, pp. 32697-32707. DOI:

Embryonic retinal tumors in SV40 T-Ag transgenic mice contain CD133+ Tumor-initiating cells
Wadhwa, L, Bond, WS, Perlaky, L, Overbeek, PA, Hurwitz, MY, Ch ´evez-Barrios, P & Hurwitz, RL 2012, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, vol 53, no. 7, pp. 3454-3462. DOI:

Establishment and propagation of human retinoblastoma tumors in immune deficient mice
Bond, WS, Wadhwa, L, Perlaky, L, Penland, RL, Hurwitz, MY, Hurwitz, RL & Chèvez-Barrios, P 2011, Journal of Visualized Experiments, no. 54, e2644. DOI:

A single intravenous injection of oncolytic picornavirus SVV-001 eliminates medulloblastomas in primary tumor-based orthotopic xenograft mouse models
Yu, L, Baxter, PA, Zhao, X, Liu, Z, Wadhwa, L, Zhang, Y, Su, JMF, Tan, X, Yang, J, Adesina, A, Perlaky, L, Hurwitz, M, Idamakanti, N, Police, SR, Hallenbeck, PL, Blaney, SM, Chintagumpala, M, Hurwitz, RL & Li, XN 2011, Neuro-Oncology, vol 13, no. 1, pp. 14-27. DOI:

Absence of systemic immune response to adenovectors after intraocular administration to children with retinoblastoma
Ildefonso, CJ, Kong, L, Leen, A, Chai, SJ, Petrochelli, V, Chintagumpala, M, Hurwitz, MY, Chévez-Barrios, P & Hurwitz, RL 2010, Molecular Therapy, vol 18, no. 10, pp. 1885-1890. DOI:

Treatment of invasive retinoblastoma in a murine model using an oncolytic picornavirus
Wadhwa, L, Hurwitz, MY, Chévez-Barrios, P & Hurwitz, RL 2007, Cancer Research, vol 67, no. 22, pp. 10653-10656. DOI:

Retinoblastoma: Review of current management
Chintagumpala, M , Chevez-Barrios, P, Paysse, EA, Plon, SE & Hurwitz, R 2007, Oncologist, vol 12, no. 10, pp. 1237-1246. DOI:

Modulation of adenoviral transduction in vitro and in vivo by hyaluronan and its receptor CD44
Chaudhuri, SR, Mallam, JN, Chévez-Barrios, P, Wadhwa, L, Ng, P, Hurwitz, MY & Hurwitz, RL 2007, Molecular Therapy, vol 15, no. 3, pp. 566-570. DOI:

Extensively necrotic retinoblastoma is associated with high-risk prognostic factors
Chong, EM, Coffee, RE, Chintagumpala, M, Hurwitz, RL, Hurwitz, MY & Chévez-Barrios, P 2006, Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, vol 130, no. 11, pp. 1669-1672.

Response of retinoblastoma with vitreous tumor seeding to adenovirus-mediated delivery of thymidine kinase followed by ganciclovir
Chévez-Barrios, P , Chintagumpala, M, Mieler, W, Paysse, E, Boniuk, M, Kozinetz, C, Hurwitz, MY & Hurwitz, RL 2005, Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol 23, no. 31, pp. 7927-7935. DOI:

Efficient gene transfer into retinal cells using adenoviral vectors: Dependence on receptor expression
Mallam, JN, Hurwitz, MY, Mahoney, T, Chévez-Barrios, P & Hurwitz, RL 2004, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, vol 45, no. 6, pp. 1680-1687. DOI:

Retinoblastoma: From bench to bedside
Hurwitz, RL , Chévez-Barrios, P, Boniuk, M, Chintagumpala, M & Hurwitz, MY 2003, Expert Reviews in Molecular Medicine, vol 5, no. 1. DOI:

Immune consequences of intraocular administration of modified adenoviral vectors
Suber, ML, Hurwitz, MY, Chévez-Barrios, P & Hurwitz, RL 2001, Human Gene Therapy, vol 12, no. 7, pp. 833-838. DOI:

Letter to the editor (multiples letters)
Hurwitz, RL 2001, Molecular Therapy, vol 4, no. 1. DOI:

Re.: "A Death in the Laboratory".
Hurwitz, RL 2001, Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy, vol 4, no. 1.

Autologous antileukemic immune response induced by chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells expressing the CD40 ligand and interleukin 2 transgenes
Takahashi, S, Rousseau, RF, Yotnda, P, Mei, Z, Dotti, G, Rill, D, Hurwitz, R, Marini, F, Andreeff, M & Brenner, MK 2001, Human Gene Therapy, vol 12, no. 6, pp. 659-670. DOI:

Metastatic and nonmetastatic models of retinoblastoma
Chevez-Barrios, P, Hurwitz, MY, Louie, K, Marcus, KT, Holcombe, VN, Schafer, P, Aguilar-Cordova, CE & Hurwitz, RL 2000, American Journal of Pathology, vol 157, no. 4, pp. 1405-1412.