The Tisch Cancer Institute

Director’s Message

Recently, the Tisch Cancer Institute (TCI) successfully renewed its National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Center Support Grant for a period of five years, extending important funding and NCI-designated cancer center status, first awarded to TCI in 2015. The institute’s mission is to advance basic, clinical, and population health cancer research, in order to prevent cancer in healthy individuals and improve the lives of people with cancer and their families in its diverse communities, and this competitive renewal allows the TCI to continue pursuing this mission. The renewal is a testament to the scientists and physicians, whose collaborative efforts span basic, clinical, and population science research, as well as the administrative and shared resources teams and allied health care professionals who provide the necessary infrastructure and support to develop innovative and cutting edge translational research, all the while providing outstanding patient care.  We look forward to the next five years of innovation and discovery that advance the course of treatment and survival for cancer patients.

Last year, 2020, held unprecedented surprises and relentless challenges like no other. TCI’s experience in cancer research and treatment was invaluable in confronting COVID-19. Our scientists helped improve the reliability of Mount Sinai’s successful ELISA antibody test for SARS-CoV-2. Our hematologists helped Mount Sinai quickly institute an anticoagulation protocol for patients with COVID-19 whose mortality was often tied to untreated blood clots. Our immunologists, familiar with high cytokine release levels in cancer patients, applied their knowledge to critically ill COVID-19 patients with similar reactions. We also launched the nation’s first study on allogeneic stem cell therapy in COVID-19 patients with overactive immune responses. Our cancer clinical trials and advanced therapies are now more accessible to patients throughout the New York Metropolitan Area. This initiative will help patients receive breakthrough treatments closer to where they live or work and help us improve the outcomes of cancer patients and their families. From the outset of the pandemic, TCI has been on the frontline of patient care delivery and at the forefront of advancing patient care.

In other news, Joseph A. Sparano, MD, an expert in the management of breast cancer and HIV-associated malignancies, has been appointed Deputy Director of the Tisch Cancer Institute. Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Sparano was Professor of Medicine and Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women’s Health, Associate Chairman for Clinical Research in the Department of Oncology, and Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center. Dr. Sparano will be instrumental in expanding our footprint in cancer advancements, guiding our progress toward National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center status, and fostering our mission of providing cancer care with special attention to equity and the unique needs of our community.

Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD
Director, The Tisch Cancer Institute