Rear Admiral (RADM: Upper) Richard Childs, M.D serves as the Clinical Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He completed his internship, residency, and a Chief Residency in internal medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville followed by fellowships at the NIH in Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Hematology at the NHLBI. He is board certified in medical oncology. He was commissioned in the USPHS Commissioned Corps as a Lieutenant in 1995 when joined the NCI as an Oncology Fellow. Following fellowship training, he was appointed a tenure-track investigator in the Hematology Branch of the NHLBI where he continues to conduct research as a Senior Investigator in bone marrow transplantation and tumor immunotherapy.
As a tenure track and subsequently tenured investigator in the NHLBI, Dr. Childs has focused his research on allogeneic stem cell transplantation and tumor immunology to treat aplastic anemia, hematological malignancies, and solid tumors. Dr Childs and his research team were the first to establish the existence of a graft-vs-solid tumor effect mediated by transplanted donor T-cells that could cure patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Subsequently, his laboratory discovered a novel human endogenous retrovirus (HERV-E) to be the target for allogeneic graft-vs-tumor effects inducing tumor regression. Translational research being conducted in his lab is focused on developing novel T-cell based approaches to target HERV-E derived kidney cancer antigens in clear cell renal cell carcinoma. In this regard, his group has cloned T-cell receptors recognizing HERV-E antigens and in a first in human clinical trial being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center, is investigating the anti-tumor potential of adoptively transferring autologous T-cells genetically modified to express HERV-E T-cell receptors. Dr. Childs’ lab also has a major focus on NK Cell immunotherapy, conducting lab based and clinical research aimed at exploring a variety of different strategies to optimize adoptive NK cell therapy for cancer. Dr Childs also serves as the principal investigator on several investigator-initiated clinical research protocols conducted at the NIH Clinical Center exploring novel hematopoietic stem cell transplant regimens aimed at improving transplant-outcomes for patients with treatment refractory severe aplastic anemia, and has performed over 400 hundred experimental stem cell transplants at the NHLBI.
Dr. Childs received tenure at the NIH in 2006 and in 2013 was appointed Clinical Director of the NHLBI, As NHLBI’s Clinical Director, he reports directly to the NHLBI Director and oversees the entire clinical research portfolio of the institute’s intramural research divisions in cardiology, pulmonary medicine, hematology, and populations sciences.
Dr. Childs was elected into the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2009, and is the recipient of the NIH Director’s Scientific Medal Award and the NIH Clinical Center’s Distinguished Clinical Teacher Award. From December 2014 through February 2015, he deployed to Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa as a part of the United States Ebola Crisis Response, where he served as the Chief Medical Officer caring for health care workers infected with Ebola at the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU). In 2015, he was promoted to Rear Admiral and Assistant US Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps of the (Lower 2015; Upper 2020).