The Tisch Cancer Institute

In the News

  • This Extremely Common Drug Given To Alcoholics Also Kills Cancer Cells, And We Finally Know Why 
    December 10, 2017
    Disulfiram (Antabuse) is a drug given to alcoholics to prevent them from drinking, but for decades doctors have noticed that the medication appears to have an unexpected side effect: fighting cancer. Now, new research from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has revealed the biological mechanism behind Antabuse's effect of cancer. The study, published earlier this week in Nature, is the culmination of years of research and the combined efforts of scientists from five countries. In the paper, the team explains how Antabuse appears to "freeze" tumor growth by inhibiting an important protein. The new study is the first to suggest a biological explanation for this side effect. Matthew Galsky, MD, director of the novel therapeutics program and genitourinary medical oncology at the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai and professor of urology, medicine, hematology and medical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said that it may be too soon to count this as a cancer cure just yet. "Obviously the major questions are, that's great that it works in test tubes, but what does this mean for patients, and how do we test that?" Dr. Galsky noted that the study was extremely detailed and showed exactly how this drug affects cancer cells, but we still do not know if the doses used to achieve these results in the laboratory can be safe and effective in human patients.
    - Matthew Galsky, MD, Director of the Novel Therapeutics Program, Clinical Trials Program and Genitourinary Medical Oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai and Professor of Urology, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 
  • Mount Sinai Institutes Join $215 Million Partnership To Increase Patients' Immunotherapy Success
    December 10, 2017
    The Tisch Cancer Institute and the Precision Immunology Institute at Mount Sinai Health System are part of a $215 million public-private Cancer Moonshot research collaboration launched by the National Institutes of Health and 11 leading pharmaceutical companies.  This collaboration will dive deep into tumors and the immune system's interactions with them at the cellular and molecular levels to identify biomarkers present in malignant and healthy tissues to determine how to make immunotherapies work for more patients. "The Tisch Cancer Institute is committed to conduct innovative profiling of the immune system to determine the best approaches for therapy and prevention," said Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director of The Tisch Cancer Institute, Ward-Coleman Chair in Cancer Research, and Chair of the Department of Oncological Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "This groundbreaking Cancer Moonshot collaboration between industry, government, medicine, and academia is a great new initiative toward bringing the most effective and individualized treatments to more patients sooner," he added.
    - Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director, The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, Professor, Chair, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 
  • Millennials Rely On Internet For Information, Providers For Cancer Treatment Decisions
    December 8, 2017
    A new study found that nearly 90 percent of all patients with cancer conduct online research after diagnosis, with approximately half doing so the same day. The "State of Cancer" report highlights how important it is for health care providers - including pharmacists - to understand how patients are receiving this information about their diagnosis in order to steer them towards trusted sources. In the study, the authors analyzed consumer lifestyle data for 1,500 patients with cancer to determine which role online sites and technology play in cancer diagnosis and treatment. While 89 percent of patients with cancer and their caregivers search the internet for information, 49 percent of millennials do their research the same day they are diagnosed, according to the study. At a panel discussion on the report, panelist William Oh, MD, professor of medicine, hematology, medical oncology, urology, and deputy director of the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, noted that the amount of complex information online can be difficult for patients to navigate. Dr. Oh told the audience that providers have to personalize information patients receive to ensure they get the right resources and are not overwhelmed by statistics that may not be applicable.
    - William Oh, MD, Professor, Medicine, Hematology, Medical Oncology, Urology, Deputy Director, Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 
  • William Oh Named Deputy Director Of Tisch Cancer Institute 
    December 8, 2017
    William Oh, MD, professor of medicine, hematology, medical oncology, and urology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai was named deputy director of the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Oh will oversee the clinical and translational research activities of Tisch Cancer Institute's multi-disciplinary faculty with a goal of securing designation of the center as an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center.
    - William Oh, MD, Professor, Medicine, Hematology, Medical Oncology, Urology, Deputy Director, Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • 27 Top Breast Cancer Oncologists, Picked By Big Data
    December 4, 2017
    Grand Rounds is a company that reviews data on physicians with the goal of helping patients find the appropriate doctor. The company uses a computer model based on publicly available and proprietary data, including administrative claims data from insurers, practice affiliations, board certifications, disciplinary actions, and academic publications. The company also reviews how doctors were trained, who they work with, what they prescribe, and procedures they perform. Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at the Tisch Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, was recognized on the list of top breast cancer oncologists by big data.
    - Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • U.S. Oncologists, Unfamiliar With MACRA, Are Not Implementing It
    December 4, 2017
    Lack of knowledge and resources, and doubts that the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) would positively impact their practices or patients, have led to low participation by U.S. oncologists, researchers and policy experts say. MACRA, signed into law in 2015, replaced the existing Medicare payment formula with a new pay-for-performance program. Luis M. Isola, MD, professor of medicine, hematology, medical oncology, and pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who was not involved in the study but is very familiar with MACRA requirements, warned that if clinicians "just ignore it completely and don't submit data, they will get a four percent decrease in their reimbursement, and as a result, some practices may not be able to treat Medicare patients." He added that "the margin for chemotherapy drugs is six percent, so you don't want to subtract 4 percent. You're buying very expensive drugs to give to patients in hope you'll get paid back."
    - Luis M. Isola, MD, Professor, Medicine, Hematology, Medical Oncology, Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 
  • New Score May Have Prognostic Value In Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis
    December 1, 2017
    Combining gene expression signature data with the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score may predict survival of patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis, researchers say. "Survival prediction of severe alcoholic hepatitis is an urgent unmet medical need given the considerable side effects of the standard of care, steroids, which is not effective in a significant fraction of the patients," said Yuhin Hoshida, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and liver diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "The currently available score predicts patient prognosis only seven days after starting steroid treatment, and its predictive performance is suboptimal. Our score enables prognostic prediction before steroid initiation, with substantially improved performance," he added. Sander Florman, MD, director of the Recanti/Miller Transplantation Institute and professor of surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, was not involved in the study, but said, "The gene signature data combined with MELD data for these patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis is interesting and merits further investigation. These findings will hopefully lead to the development of serum assays as biopsy is not readily available everywhere and can be hazardous." For now, the findings "may have significant clinical applicability, especially when biopsy is available, and may allow us to stratify these patients and their care based upon who is more or less likely to survive."
    - Yujin Hoshida, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Liver Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    - Sander Florman, MD, Director, Recaanti/Miller Transplantation Institute, Professor, Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 
  • Six Sneaky Signs Of Lung Cancer That Have Nothing To Do With A Cough
    November 30, 2017
    You probably think of lung cancer as a smoker's disease-after all, we've long heard the warnings that lighting up skyrockets your risk. And while that's certainly true, the truth is, it's not exclusively a smoker's disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that as many as 20 percent of annual lung cancer deaths are in people who've never smoked or used tobacco. Yes, it's still true that smoking is the biggest risk factor, but it's not the only one. "You may be exposed to things that cause lung cancer and not even know it," said Raja Flores, MD, professor of thoracic surgery, director of the thoracic surgical oncology program at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and system chair of thoracic surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System. For instance, you may have been around radon gas, carcinogens like asbestos, or secondhand smoke, he said-maybe you lived next to a neighbor who smoked inside for years, or you used to tear down walls in the construction business. If you recognize any sneaky risk factors, it's particularly important to be aware of the signs of lung cancer. "It's very aggressive, so when you catch it early, you have to act on it early," said Dr. Flores.
    - Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames Professorship in Thoracic Surgery, Director, Thoracic Surgical Oncology Program, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, System Chair, Thoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System
  • Ramon Parsons Awarded Outstanding Investigator Award From The National Cancer Institute
    November 29, 2017
    Ramon Parsons Awarded Outstanding Investigator Award From The National Cancer Institute
    Renowned scientist Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, director of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, professor and chair of oncological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has been awarded an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute. The award guarantees $6.7 million for seven years of research into the tumor-suppressing functions of the PTEN gene, which Dr. Parsons discovered. The award will be used to determine how the tumor-suppressing gene, PTEN, and its variant, PTEN-L, are regulated; to study tumors' development and metabolism when the gene is inactivated; and to develop small molecule therapies that target tumor cells that have cancer-causing mutations in the PTEN gene. "Understanding PTEN could hold the key to helping patients with some of the most aggressive and the most treatment-resistant cancers, such as triple-negative breast cancer and prostate cancer," said Dr. Parsons.
    Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director, The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, Professor, Chair, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Bladder Cancer: Be Active In Your Treatment And Self-Care
    November 27, 2017
    In 2017, it's estimated that there will be about 79,000 new cases of bladder cancer in the United States, adding to the many thousands already battling the disease. To ensure the best outcome for every patient, the American Society of Clinical oncology suggests a team-based approach that includes patients taking an active role in treatment decisions. However, bladder cancer patients have an enormous amount to learn, from the biology of the disease and how doctors diagnose it to current treatments, surgical options and possible lifestyle changes. The comprehensive education program was developed by bladder cancer specialists from the Mount Sinai Hospital, including Matthew Galsky, MD, professor of urology, medicine, hematology and medical oncology, and director of genitourinary medical oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Nihal Mohamed, PhD, assistant professor of urology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    - Matthew Galsky, MD, Director of the Novel Therapeutics Program, Clinical Trials Program and Genitourinary Medical Oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai and Professor of Urology, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    - Nihal Mohamed, PhD, Assistant Professor, Urology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Scientists Identify Novel Therapeutic Targets For Metastatic Melanoma
    November 27, 2017
    Mount Sinai researchers have identified novel therapeutic targets for metastatic melanoma, according to a study published in Molecular Cell. "Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, affecting more and more patients," according to the study's senior author, Emily Bernstein, PhD, associate professor of oncological sciences and dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "While immunotherapy and targeted therapies have significantly improved the outcome for some metastatic melanoma patients, they have had success in a small subset of patients and can cause significant toxic side effects. Thus, their limitations underscore the need for new therapies, highlighting the importance of this research's discovery of novel targets." The researchers made their discoveries by studying BET proteins, which regulate gene expression in cancer, and their regulation of AMIGO2. When melanoma is growing, the amount of AMIGO2 increases; silencing its function significantly impairs melanoma's growth.
    Emily Bernstein, PhD, Associate Professor, Oncological Sciences, Dermatology, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Outlook: Fatty Liver Disease 
    November 23, 2017
    Liam Drew Biotechnology start-ups and pharmaceutical giants alike are charging ahead to develop therapies for the most serious form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In January 2014, Intercept Pharmaceuticals announced that it had stopped a phase II clinical trial of a potential treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) almost one year early. It was clear that the treatment protocol being assessed, a 72-week course of a synthetic bile acid, obeticholic acid, was working. The trial participants had an advanced form of NAFLD known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and the drug had made their livers less inflamed and scarred. The worldwide spike in obesity in the past few decades has driven "a huge epidemiological surge" in NAFLD, said Scott Friedman, MD, dean of therapeutic discovery, Fishberg professor of medicine, professor of liver diseases and pharmacological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and chief of liver diseases for the Mount Sinai Health System. The number of liver transplants given because of NASH has soared in the United States since 2004, and the condition is projected to be the leading cause of transplants within 5-15 years. Dr. Friedman added that "the field is rapidly evolving towards combination therapies." It's widely anticipated that drugs for NASH will enter the market in 2020 or 2021, and that soon others will follow. "There is already pretty solid evidence that you can move the needle in terms of histology," Dr. Friedman said. "And this is at a pretty early stage of the history of drug development in this field."
    - Scott Friedman, MD, Dean, Therapeutic Discovery, Fishberg Professor, Medicine, Professor, Liver Diseases, Pharmacological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Chief, Liver Diseases, The Mount Sinai Health System
  • David Cassidy Died of Liver and Kidney Failure. Here's What You Should Know
    November 22, 2017
    Sarah Klein Partridge Family actor, David Cassidy died recently from an organ failure at age 67. Cassidy had been hospitalized for liver and kidney failure and was in need of a liver transplant. He had previously spoken publicly about his struggle with alcoholism, and, more recently, had revealed he was battling dementia too. The cause of liver failure depends on which type a person has. A person can have acute liver failure, which develops suddenly after, say, ingesting toxic substances or contracting an aggressive virus, said Scott Friedman, MD, dean of therapeutic discovery, professor of medicine, liver diseases, and pharmacological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and chief of liver disease for the Mount Sinai Health System. Or they can have chronic liver failure, which is the result of a long-term injury or illness like hepatitis B or C, metabolic diseases like iron overload, or alcohol abuse, Dr. Friedman added. Someone with acute liver failure may make a full recovery, but "in chronic liver failure, there's no chance for spontaneous improvement, so really the only option is liver transplantation," he explained. Without a transplant, liver failure can lead to the destruction of other organs, typically starting with the kidneys, he said.
    - Scott Friedman, MD, Dean, Therapeutic Discovery, Professor, Medicine, Liver Diseases, Pharmacological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Chief, Liver Diseases, The Mount Sinai Health System 
  • Long Haul for Breast Cancer Survivors: Disease Can Return After 20 Years
    November 20, 2017
    New research shows that long-term endocrine therapy can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence but side effects keep some women from taking it.  Paula Klein, MD, associate professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai says there were some caveats, including that this is a meta-analysis study on trials of women scheduled to receive five years of therapy, but it is unknown if they completed their therapy. "We do know there's not an insignificant number of patients who are noncompliant," Dr. Klein said.  Sarah P. Cate, Director of the Special Surveillance and Breast Program at Mount Sinai Downtown-Chelsea Center, said that this study won't change current practices.  "Most practice-changing types of studies are those that are randomized and prospective. While this study is important, I don't know that it's presenting much different data than already presented in prior studies done in a randomized fashion," said Dr. Cate.  Promising research from Mount Sinai researchers has identified a protein (PTK6) that promotes cell growth and survival in a number of cancers, including ER-positive breast cancer and those that are resistant to tamoxifen. The discovery could be a stepping stone to new targeted therapies says Hanna Irie, MD, PhD, assistant professor, medical oncology, oncological services, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    - Hanna Irie, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Oncological Services, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Medical Oncologist, Dubin Breast Center, The Mount Sinai Hospital
    - Paula Klein, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    - Sarah Cate, MD, Assistant Professor, Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Breast Surgeon, Mount Sinai Downtown-Chelsea Center
  • PTK6 Inhibitors May Target Endocrine Therapy-Resistant ER+ Breast Cancer
    November 20, 2017
    Interview with Hanna Irie, MD, PhD, senior author and assistant professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a medical oncologist at the Dubin Breast Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital answers several questions regarding ER+ breast cancer. Dr. Irie shares, "Additional studies validating PTK6 as a therapeutic target for ER+ breast cancer, the most common breast cancer subtype, are underway and could lead to a novel approach to treating these cancers."
    - Hanna Irie, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Oncological Services, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Medical Oncologist, Dubin Breast Center, The Mount Sinai Hospital 
  • Design The First Mathematical Model To Predict The Success Of Immunotherapy
    November 14, 2017
    Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York have created the first mathematical model that can predict how a cancer patient will benefit from some immunotherapies, according to a study published in the journal Nature.  "We present a multidisciplinary approach to study immunotherapy and immune surveillance of tumors," acknowledged lead author of this finding Benjamin Greenbaum, MD, assistant professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology, pathology, and oncological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  This new research will help inform a predictive mechanical model of response or design therapies that further exploit the way the immune system recognizes tumors.  The new model has the potential to help find new therapeutic targets within the immune system or to design vaccines for patients who usually do not respond to immunotherapy.
    - Benjamin D. Greenbaum, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Pathology, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Dr. Chari On Comparing Agents In Multiple Myeloma
    November 13, 2017
    Ajai Chari, MD, associate professor of medicine, hematology, medical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, director of clinical research in the multiple myeloma program and associate director of clinical research at the Mount Sinai Cancer Clinical Trials Office, discusses comparing agents in multiple myeloma. The median overall survival of multiple myeloma has been on the rise, in part due to the plethora of novel agents that have emerged. With nine drugs approved in the last decade, choosing among the various regimens and combinations can be overwhelming, Dr. Chari said. Comparing these agents though is not so simple, as here are many variables to any given trial.
    - Ajai Chari, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology, Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Clinical Research in the Multiple Myeloma Program, Associate Director, Clinical Research, Mount Sinai Cancer Clinical Trials Office
  • NYPD Honors Dr. Flores For Work With Asbestos-Related Diseases - Tim Povtak
    November 13, 2017
    New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill recently appointed Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames professor in thoracic surgery, director of thoracic surgical oncology program and the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and system chair of thoracic surgery at the Mount Sinai Health System, to the Society of Honorary Police Surgeons. The prestigious appointment stems from Dr. Flores' continued, long-running service to so many first responders - particularly policemen and firemen from the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attack. "This is a huge honor for me," said Dr. Flores. "I come from a family of cops. Police work is in my blood. My grandfather and grandmother were cops. My uncles were cops, too. It truly is a privilege to serve these men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day."
    - Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames Professorship in Thoracic Surgery, Director, Thoracic Surgical Oncology Program, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, System Chair, Thoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System
  • Myths About Lung Cancer
    November 11, 2017
    Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women, and the most deadly. But, there are a lot of myths surrounding this cancer. "If you find it early, 80 percent of lung cancers can be cured," said Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames professor in thoracic surgery, director of the thoracic surgery oncology program at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and system chair of thoracic surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System. The problem is lung cancer is often caught too late, which leads to another myth, that there are no symptoms. Doctors say there are sign to watch for: a cough that doesn't go away, chest pain, weight loss, coughing up blood, or infections like bronchitis or pneumonia that keep coming back. "Everyone automatically assumes smoking, lung cancer, but no, there's a good number that can have cancers that have never smoked," added Dr. Flores. While smoking does increase your risk, more than 40-thousand cases of lung cancer are diagnosed each year in non-smokers.
    Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames Professorship in Thoracic Surgery, Director, Thoracic Surgical Oncology Program, The Tisch Cancer Institue, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, System Chair, Thoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System
  • A Repository For Biomarker Data
    November 10, 2017
    AMount Sinai was chosen as a comprehensive center to perform immune monitoring and analysis of clinical trials testing cancer drugs that modulate the immune system. Part of its work with the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT), will be to ensure that methodological approaches are reliably and reproducibly performed, so that the information can be quickly translated into useful tests to increase the chances of response to treatment. "These efforts cast a wide net to measure not only the effect of immunomodulating drugs on tissues, cells, bacteria, proteins and genes, but also to help understand underlying immune competence before patients even start treatment that could explain their clinical outcomes," said Sacha Gnjatic, PhD, associate professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology and associate director of the human immune monitoring center at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "As a collaborative effort with three other centers funded through a U24 collaborative grant from the NCI, we expect to find new biomarkers that could rapidly lead to new or better immunotherapies. We are thrilled to be a recipient of this grant, particularly because it recognizes that the key to developing better cancer immunotherapies is to understand how the immune system changes and interacts with tumors throughout treatment."
    - Sacha Gnjatic, PhD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Associate Director, Human Immune Monitoring Center, The Tisch Cancer Institute, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Could Your Heartburn Turn Into Esophageal Cancer?
    November 10, 2017
    Almost everyone has suffered from heartburn at some point in their life, so it's easy to write that painful burning sensation you get in the middle of your chest after a long run as not a big deal. But heartburn, which is a symptom of acid reflux, can actually be a pretty big deal. "Acid reflux is what happens when stomach contents go up the esophagus," explained Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames professor in thoracic surgery, director of the thoracic surgery oncology program at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and system chair of thoracic surgery for the Mount Sinai Health System. If you're not sure whether you should be concerned about your heartburn, take note of its frequency. Twenty to 30 percent of adults experience some type of gastroesophageal reflux disease, like heartburn, weekly, and Dr. Flores said that's nothing to worry about. "It's the people who are experiencing it multiple times a day that are at risk of developing cancer," he noted.
    - Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames Professorship in Thoracic Surgery, Director, Thoracic Surgical Oncology Program, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, System Chair, Thoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System
  • A Neoantigen Fitness Model Predicts Tumour Response To Checkpoint Blockade Immunotherapy
    November 8, 2017
    Physicians can consult a mathematical model to determine whether a cancer patient will benefit from taking certain immunotherapy courses, according to researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai published in Nature.
    - Benjamin D. Greenbaum, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Pathology, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    - Alexander Solovyov, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Mount Sinai Researchers Develop First Mathematical Model for Predicting Patient Response to Immunotherapy
    November 8, 2017
    Scientists Also Helped Craft Similar Model to Predict Why Some Pancreatic Cancer Patients Survive Longer Than Others.

  • Scientists Create First Mathematical Model That Predicts Immunotherapy Success
    November 8, 2017
    Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have created the first mathematical model that can predict how a cancer patient will benefit from certain immunotherapies, according to a study published in Nature. "We present an interdisciplinary approach to studying immunotherapy and immune surveillance of tumors," said Benjamin Greenbaum, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, hematology, medical oncology, oncological services, and pathology at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "This approach will hopefully lead to better mechanistic predictive modeling of response and future design of therapies that further take advantage of how the immune system recognizes tumors." 
    - Benjamin Greenbaum, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology, Medical Oncology, Oncological Services, Pathology, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
  • Two Mount Sinai Institutes to Join $215 Million Public-Private Partnership to Increase Patients' Immunotherapy Success
    November 6, 2017
    The Tisch Cancer Institute and the Precision Immunology Institute at Mount Sinai Health System are part of a $215 million public-private Cancer Moonshot research collaboration launched by the National Institutes of Health and 11 leading pharmaceutical companies.

  • Tisch Cancer Institute Director Ramon Parsons Awarded $6.7 Million for Research on Cancer-Causing Gene Mutated in Cancers with the Least Treatment Options
    October 31, 2017
    The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, the prestigious Outstanding Investigator Award, granting him $6.7 million over seven years for research into the tumor-suppressing functions of the PTEN gene, which he discovered.

  • 'Real Housewives' Star Stephanie Hollman Says Donating Bone Marrow Was As Simple As Donating Blood
    October 31, 2017
    In May, Real Housewives of Dallas star Stephanie Hollman revealed that she was donating bone marrow to help someone in need. Bone marrow donations can be used in the treatment of life-threatening conditions, such as leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma. But it's not actually the marrow that doctors are after - it's the stem cells that mature within the marrow before being released into the bloodstream. You can get on the bone marrow registry by signing up and giving a DNA sample, which is usually done via a cheek swab, said James L.M. Ferrara, MD, DSc, Ward-Coleman chair of cancer medicine at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Your information is then put into a database, where it sits until it's matched with someone in need. Patients and donors need to have the same human leukocyte antigens, and there are tens of thousands of different combinations, added Dr. Ferrara. So, unless you're related to the recipient, there's a pretty low chance that you'll be a match. It's a pretty incredible opportunity to save a life without doing much.
    - James L.M. Ferrara, MD, DSc, Professor of Pediatrics, Oncological Sciences and Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Co-director of Mount Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium (MAGIC)

  • Doctor Debunks Common Lung Cancer Myths
    October 30, 2017
    Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women, and the most deadly. But, there are a lot of myths surrounding this cancer. One big myth about lung cancer is that if you have it, you'll die within a few months. Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames professor in thoracic surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and system chair of thoracic surgery at the Mount Sinai Health System said, "If you find it early, 80 percent of lung cancers can be cured." The problem is lung cancer is often caught too late, which leads to another myth, that there are no symptoms. Doctors say there are signs to watch for: a cough that doesn't go away, chest pain, weight loss, coughing up blood, or infections like bronchitis or pneumonia that keep coming back. Another false belief, only smokers get lung cancer. "Everyone automatically assumes smoking, lung cancer, but no, there's a good number that can have cancers that have never smoked," Dr. Flores added.
    - Raja Flores, MD, Steven and Ann Ames Professorship in Thoracic Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, System Chair, Thoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System

  • Zoledronic Acid More Cost Effective Than Denosumab For Bone Metastases
    October 30, 2017
    Administering generic zoledronic acid every 3 months appeared more cost-effective than monthly denosumab in reducing the risk for skeletal-related events among women with breast cancer and bone metastases, according to a study published in Journal of Clinical Oncology. "The trend now is to consider the value of care - what a patient gains from a drug vs. what it costs," said Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at the Tisch Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "From a payer's point of view, denosumab is more expensive and I'm not convinced it's so superior." Skeletal metastases occur in up to 75 percent of women with metastatic breast cancer and cause morbidity, including pain, pathologic fracture, spinal cord compression and hypercalcemia. "As it stands now, every drug is available to every patient, no matter how much it costs," Dr. Shapiro added. "That's our system, but we can't sustain that system because new generations of drugs are very expensive. We really have to think of the value we're getting compared with what we're paying."
    - Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Using Hypnosis To Treat Cancer's Side Effects 
    October 28, 2017
    Hypnosis isn't what most people think it is. People who undergo it aren't helpless or having an out-of-body experience. They're not losing control of themselves. Some describe it as a state of inner absorption, concentration or highly focused attention. Guy Montgomery, PhD, associate professor of oncological sciences, psychiatry, director of integrative behavioral medicine program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and director of psychological services at the Dubin Breast Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital, prefers to use hypnosis in his patients before moving on to meditation and relaxation. Hypnosis has been shown to be safe and effective, and can help patients with all types of cancer and for many different purposes, and there's evidence of its value and efficacy. "In some ways, hypnosis is the multi-purpose tool, or the Swiss army knife, of psychologists," Dr. Montgomery said. "You can apply it to a lot of different things and adapt it to benefit patients in a way that provides real symptom control and improvement in their quality of life."
    - Guy Montgomery, PhD, Associate Professor, Oncological Sciences, Psychiatry, Director, Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program , Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Psychological Services, The Dubin Breast Center, The Mount Sinai Hospital
  • New York Becomes 11th State To Ban Vaping Wherever Smoking Is Prohibited
    October 26, 2017
    The fight over what to do with e-cigarettes is continuing to heat up, and New York is the latest state to err on the side of caution. On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law that will ban the use of e-cigarettes in places where smoking is already prohibited, including in public indoor spaces like restaurants, bars, and workplaces. "Until we know exactly the health effects of e-cigarettes, through both short- and long-term studies, these products should absolutely be regulated like tobacco cigarettes," said Emanuela Taioli, MD, PhD, director of the Institute for Translational Epidemiology, professor of population health science and policy, and thoracic surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, "Because they do contain carcinogenic and addictive products; the two main reasons why tobacco is banned." 
    - Emanuela Taioli, MD, PhD, Director, Institute for Translational Epidemiology, Professor, Population Health and Policy, Thoracic Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Herb Tied To 'Remarkable' Number Of Liver Cancers In Asia
    October 25, 2017
    Chinese herbal medicines containing aristolochic acids and their derivatives (collectively known as AAs) are widely implicated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Taiwan and throughout Asia, a new study shows. In the United States, sale of herbs containing AAs is unregulated, provided such products are correctly labeled and that no health claims are made about them. Although there is no treatment specific to AA-associated liver cancers at this point, such cancers often have a high number of mutations, in which case, speculatively, immunotherapy might more likely be effective. Scott Friedman, MD, dean for therapeutic discovery and professor of medicine, liver diseases, and pharmacological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said, "This study illustrates the potential risk of using herbal medicines as treatment for ailments. In this study, a specific component of some herbal medicines, aristolchic acid, induces very specific cancer-causing changes in DNA in liver that leads to liver cancer." He added that the work "is elegant and carefully performed, and reminiscent of studies decades ago that linked a fungal contaminant, aflatoxin, to a different DNA change that also led to liver cancer."
    - Scott Friedman, MD, Dean, Therapeutic Discovery, Professor, Medicine, Liver Diseases, Pharmacological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Experts Raise Red Flag Over Fatty Liver Disease
    October 24, 2017
    An increasing epidemic of fatty liver disease in the U.S. is likely to ruin the health of millions and cost billions of dollars a year, experts said. Some 65 million Americans have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and that number will reach 100 million by 2030, according to Scott Friedman, MD, dean of therapeutic discovery and professor of medicine, liver diseases, and pharmacological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. And currently 16.5 million people have the most serious subtype of NAFLD, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a number that will rise to 27 million, he told reporters at the Liver Meeting, the annual conference of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. "An epidemic is upon us that we have not fully recognized," he said, adding "primary care providers don't appreciate that many of their patients are harboring a silent disease." Rising rates of obesity are the force behind the epidemic of NAFLD, an umbrella term covering a spectrum that begins with accumulation of fat in the liver, followed by ballooning, scarring, cirrhosis, and eventually liver failure, cancer, and death. Within a few years, Friedman said, the leading indication for a liver transplant will be advanced NASH.
    - Scott Friedman, MD, Dean, Therapeutic Discovery, Professor, Medicine, Liver Diseases, Pharmacological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • T Cells Take On Cancer
    October 23, 2017
    When cancer patients first meet Joshua Brody, MD, assistant professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology and director of the lymphoma immunotherapy program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, one of the first things they ask for is "the Jimmy Carter cure." For those diagnosed with an advanced cancer, former President Carter's story is nothing short of a bombshell. "Immunotherapy is one of the greatest advances in cancer treatment in the last 40 years," said Dr. Brody. The push is on to take full advantage. When treatment works, the results are often dramatic, with remissions lasting years in people who otherwise would have had weeks or months to live. "I have one patient with stage 4 bladder cancer, and through the use of combined immunotherapies, he has no detectable signs of cancer," said Matthew Galsky, MD, associate professor of medicine, hematology, and medical oncology and director of genitourinary medical oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    - Joshua Brody, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Director, Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    - Matthew Galsky, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology; Assistant Professor, Urology; Director, Genitourinary Medical Oncology, The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • FDA Approves Yescarta, Second-Ever CAR T-Cell Therapy, For Certain B-Cell Lymphomas
    October 19, 2017
    Aggressive lymphomas are diagnosed in tens of thousands of Americans each year and with recent advances, the majority of these patients can be cured with standard chemoimmunotherapy or stem cell transplantation. Unfortunately, these therapies fail for approximately one out of three of those diagnosed, and the remaining treatment options are generally unable to cure the disease. Joshua Brody, MD, assistant professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology and director of the Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, “The early results we have seen with CAR T cells in the past five years are easily the most potent therapy ever tested for these patients with 30 to 40 percent achieving and maintaining complete remission for months, possibly years. Some of the earliest patients treated more than five years ago are still in remission and appear to be cured.” He added that the results are transformational for how we treat these patients and, at best, will transform an incurable disease setting into a potentially curable one. “The remaining question is how we will be able to expand this approach to treat patients with other types of lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, and eventually common cancers like breast, prostate and lung cancers.”
    - Joshua Brody, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Director, Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • A Clinical Trial Saved My Life
    October 19, 2017
    In March 2013, Loretta Binaso discovered what she thought was a blister on her elbow. She didn't think much of it at the time, but when it didn't disappear after a couple of weeks, she made an appointment with her family dermatologist to have it checked. After examining the blister, which was raised and had small red veins shooting through it, her doctor suspected it was a form of skin cancer and referred her to an oncologist who agreed it did look suspicious and proceeded to order a biopsy. The results of the biopsy came back as Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare form of incurable skin cancer. At that time, the only treatment option available to Binaso was chemotherapy. She heard about clinical trials and research studies that tested new methods of treating cancer. One was being conducted at the Mount Sinai Hospital. Doctors were testing an experimental immunotherapy drug on patients with advanced Merkel cell carcinoma and Binaso decided to participate. She began the clinical trial under the direction of Philip Friedlander, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, hematology, medical oncology, and dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine and director of the medical oncology program at the Mount Sinai Hospital. He explained that the study focused on the use of immunotherapy, a type of cancer treatment designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight cancer. Rather than using an external treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, immunotherapy attempts to rally the patient's own immune system to attack cancer cells. Binaso was given an experimental drug intravenously every three weeks for a 15-month period and imaging scans every two to three months. At the end of the clinical trial, she got miraculous news: her cancer was in remission.
    - Philip Friedlander, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology, Medical Oncology, Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Medical Oncology Program, Mount Sinai Hospital
  • FDA Approves Yescarta, Second-Ever CAR T-Cell Therapy, For Certain B-Cell Lymphomas
    October 19, 2017
    Aggressive lymphomas are diagnosed in tens of thousands of Americans each year and with recent advances, the majority of these patients can be cured with standard chemoimmunotherapy or stem cell transplantation. Unfortunately, these therapies fail for approximately one out of three of those diagnosed, and the remaining treatment options are generally unable to cure the disease. Joshua Brody, MD, assistant professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology and director of the Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, "The early results we have seen with CAR T cells in the past five years are easily the most potent therapy ever tested for these patients with 30 to 40 percent achieving and maintaining complete remission for months, possibly years. Some of the earliest patients treated more than five years ago are still in remission and appear to be cured." He added that the results are transformational for how we treat these patients and, at best, will transform an incurable disease setting into a potentially curable one. "The remaining question is how we will be able to expand this approach to treat patients with other types of lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, and eventually common cancers like breast, prostate and lung cancers."
    - Joshua Brody, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Director, Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Generic vs Brand Bone Drug For Breast Cancer, Skeletal Mets
    October 18, 2017
    At a time when rising healthcare costs in the United States are coming under intense scrutiny, one of the first independent analyses to compare a proprietary drug with its generic counterpart shows that zoledronic acid given every 3 months is more cost-effective than monthly denosumab in women with breast cancer and skeletal metastases, said researchers. Analysis of data from the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB)/Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology shows that compared with the cost of zoledronic acid every 3 months, the mean cost of administering monthly denosumab to prevent skeletal-related events (SREs) was nine times higher over a 2-year period, according to Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at the Tisch Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "As we move toward a value-based health care model, every 3-month zoledronic acid may be a viable alternative to monthly denosumab when costs are considered," he added. "We've got to start doing more trials like this."
    - Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Sema4 Data Scientists Tout Brain Cancer Breakthrough
    October 16, 2017
    Scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Sema4, a company of scientists, doctors, engineers, and genetic counselors, with roots at Mount Sinai, have pinpointed a biomarker for brain cancer. The glioblastoma study validated a biomarker indicative of a patient's prognosis and likely response to specific therapies. The results of the research were published in an article in the October 15 issue of Cancer Research. "It was truly remarkable to see our predictive model yield a new set of molecular subtypes, which appear to be far more indicative of prognosis and therapeutic response than existing subtypes," said Jun Zhu, PhD, professor of genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and head of data sciences at Sema4. "These findings underscore the significant potential we see to improve patient outcomes by investing in predictive modeling of even the most complex types of cancer," said Eric Schadt, PhD, dean of precision medicine, professor of genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Sema4 CEO.
    - Eric Schadt, PhD, Dean, Precision Medicine, Professor, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    - Jun Zhu, PhD, Professor, Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    - Raymund L. Yong, MD, Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Dr. Ramon Parsons elected into the National Academy of Medicine.
    October 16, 2017
    Ramon Parsons elected into the National Academy of Medicine. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.
  • Hematologists, Oncologists Elected To National Academy Of Medicine
    October 16, 2017
    The National Academy of Medicine today announced the election of 70 regular members and 10 international members. Election to the academy - considered one of the highest honors in health and medicine - recognizes individuals who demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. The academy now has 2,127 members, including 172 international members. Newly elected members who specialize in fields related to hematology and oncology include Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, director of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, professor and chair of oncological services at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    - Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director, The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, Professor, Chair, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • NIH Collaboration Aims To Identify, Validate Immunotherapy Biomarkers - Kristie L. Kahl
    October 13, 2017
    NIH launched the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies, a five-year public-private research collaboration. The $215 million effort is part of the national cancer moonshot initiative. The collaboration — managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and advised by the FDA — will focus on efforts to identify, develop and validate robust biomarkers to advance new immunotherapy treatments for cancer care. “The purpose is to find better ways to predict which patients may benefit from such therapies, and to design new approaches for those who don’t,” said Sacha Gnjatic, PhD, associate professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology and associate director of the Human Immune Monitoring Center at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The partnership takes advantage of the large-scale funding and portfolios of drugs from the pharmaceutical industry to tap into the expertise of NCI-sponsored researchers and clinicians and solve these questions in the most scientifically robust manner.”
    - Sacha Gnjatic, PhD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Associate Director, Human Immune Monitoring Center, The Tisch Cancer Institute, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

    Additional coverage:
    Crain’s Health Pulse (Subscription Required)
    Forbes
    Chron
    Pharmaceutical Processing
    Fierce Biotech

  • T Cells Take On Cancer - Linda Childers
    October 10, 2017
    When cancer patients first meet Joshua Brody, MD, assistant professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology and director of the lymphoma immunotherapy program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, one of the first things they ask for is “the Jimmy Carter cure.” For those diagnosed with an advanced cancer, former President Carter’s story is nothing short of a bombshell. “Immunotherapy is one of the greatest advances in cancer treatment in the last 40 years,” said Dr. Brody. The push is on to take full advantage. When treatment works, the results are often dramatic, with remissions lasting years in people who otherwise would have had weeks or months to live. “I have one patient with stage 4 bladder cancer, and through the use of combined immunotherapies, he has no detectable signs of cancer,” said Matthew Galsky, MD, associate professor of medicine, hematology, and medical oncology and director of genitourinary medical oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    - Joshua Brody, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Director, Lymphoma Immunotherapy Program, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    - Matthew Galsky, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology; Assistant Professor, Urology; Director, Genitourinary Medical Oncology, The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Tisch Cancer Institute 2017 Town Hall
    September 26, 2017
    The Tisch Cancer Institute Town Hall gave an overview of the Cancer Center’s accomplishments, present state, and future goals. It was presented by Drs. Burakoff and Parsons to our faculty, staff, and trainees.
  • RT Plus Chemo Triples PFS In Limited Metastatic Lung Cancer - Roxanne Nelson, BSN, RN
    September 26, 2017
    Accrual was halted early after an unplanned interim analysis found a significant improvement in PFS in the SAbR plus maintenance chemotherapy arm. In addition, rates of local control and delay in distant metastases favored combination therapy. Among patients who received consolidative local therapy, there were no recurrences in original sites of gross disease; there were seven failures in the patients who received only maintenance therapy. "This study is encouraging for patients suffering from metastatic lung cancer, as metastatic lung cancer is incurable, and the standard treatment is chemotherapy alone," commented Kenneth Rosenzweig, MD, professor and system chair of radiation oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "This study shows that treating small tumors with highly focused stereotactic radiation can improve survival with minimal toxicity and a high level of convenience," he said. "Since this study is so small, its results will need to be confirmed in a larger study."
    - Kenneth Rosenzweig, MD, Professor, System Chair, Radiation Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Mild Hypothermia During Prolonged Surgery May Reduce Complications
    September 22, 2017
    The ideal core temperature for patients undergoing prolonged major head and neck surgery remains unknown. Previous data indicates the low temperatures may increase the risk of developing postoperative complications such as tissue loss, hematomas, or surgical infections. A study done at The Mount Sinai Hospital looked at the core temperature of 519 patients during prolonged surgery for head and neck cancer in order to identify the optimal temperature range for these patients to prevent complications. The study found that higher intraoperative temperatures were associated with worse outcomes in terms of tissue loss, wound complications, and infection. Brett Miles, DDS, MD, FACS, associate professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and co-chief in the division of head and neck oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System, said "Our study suggests an optimal temperature range of 35.3C-37.6C. If patients were above or below that range for a significant period of time, their complications increased. Therefore maintaining this temperature range (mild hypothermia) may improve flap outcomes in this population."
    - Brett A. Miles, DDS, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Co-Chief, Division of Head and Neck Oncology, Fellowship Director, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System
  • Expert Discusses Approval of First CAR T-Cell Therapy - Danielle Bucco
    September 18, 2017
    The FDA's recent approval of tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) as the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell Therapy, marks a new era in oncology. Tisagenlecleucel is specifically approved for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia that is refractory or in second or later relapse, based on phase II results from the single-arm, international ELIANA trial. "Having the ability to genetically engineer a person's lymphocytes and essentially weaponize them to kill these cells is a huge advance," said James L. Ferrara, MD, DSc, professor of pediatrics, oncological sciences and medicine, hematology and medical oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Co-director of Mount Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium. It is likely that this therapy will extend to other subsets of leukemia and lymphoma, Dr. Ferrara added.
    - James L.M. Ferrara, MD, DSc, Professor of Pediatrics, Oncological Sciences and Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Co-director of Mount Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium (MAGIC)
  • Gene Alterations Predict Response to Immunotherapy in Urothelial Carcinoma
    September 13, 2017
    Alterations in DNA damage repair and response genes appear to improve response to immune checkpoint blockade among patients with urothelial carcinoma, according to findings presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting. These results "clearly" indicate that such alternations could be "a potential predictive biomarker for response to immune checkpoint blockade," says Matthew Galsky, MD, associate professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology, assistant professor of urology and the director of genitourinary medical oncology at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "This is not ready for prime time, but there are ongoing, randomized clinical trials in the first-line setting in urothelial cancer, randomizing patients to chemotherapy alone vs. chemotherapy plus immune checkpoint blockade," Dr. Galsky said. "Those cohorts are ideally suited for testing this biomarker question."
    - Matthew Galsky, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology; Assistant Professor, Urology; Director, Genitourinary Medical Oncology, The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Extent of Remnant Liver Ischemia May Predict Survival After Colorectal Liver Metastases - Marilynn Larkin
    September 8, 2017
    A greater degree of remnant liver ischemia (RLI) after hepatic resection may be a significant predictor of worse recurrence-free and cancer-specific survival in patients who undergo curative resection of colorectal metastases (CLMs), researchers say. Sander Florman, MD, director of the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai and professor of surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told Reuters Health, "This is an interesting manuscript, and the findings merit publication and consideration. The authors acknowledge the limitations of the study well and also correctly conclude that high-quality surgical techniques are imperative to successful curative liver surgery for colorectal carcinoma metastases."
    - Sander Florman, MD, Director, Recaanti/Miller Transplantation Institute, Professor, Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • As Cancer Patients Look To Last-Chance Therapies, Hard Conversations Are Getting Postponed - Bob Tedeschi
    September 1, 2017
    A new generation of immune-boosting therapies has been hailed as nothing short of revolutionary, shrinking tumors and extending lives. When late-stage cancer patients run out of other options, some doctors are increasingly nudging them to give immunotherapy a try. But that advice is now coming with unintended consequences. Doctors who counsel immunotherapy, experts say, are postponing conversations about palliative care and end-of-life wishes with their patients - sometimes, until it's too late. Cardinale Smith, MD, associate professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology, geriatrics, and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said she has seen a handful of patients who tried immunotherapy treatments after failing chemotherapy, and who were later admitted to the hospital in poor condition. Almost all of them died there, without having been asked about where, and under what conditions, they might prefer to die. "These conversations are not occurring because of the hope that this will be the miracle treatment," Dr. Smith said. "Unfortunately, on the part of the oncologist, treatments like immunotherapy have become our new Hail Mary." Immunotherapies work for only around 15 to 20 percent of cancer patients who receive them.
    - Cardinale Smith, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Geriatrics, Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Ramon Parsons Named Director Of The Tisch Cancer Institute At Mount Sinai
    August 31, 2017
    Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, professor and chair of oncological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai was recently named the director of The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. One of Dr. Parsons' most important discoveries is the identification of PTEN, a tumor suppressor gene that is often mutated in cancer, which provides critical therapeutic targets in breast, brain, prostate, and endometrial cancer. In his new role as director of The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, Dr. Parsons will retain his role as chair of the Department of Oncological Sciences and will continue his research program.
    - Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director, The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, Professor, Chair, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Cancer Patients Write To Heal In Unique Writing Workshop - Fran Lowry
    August 22, 2017
    A special writing workshop for cancer patients, cancer survivors, and caregivers is helping them to process their experiences through a safe and creative outlet. The Cancer Supporting Services Program at Mount Sinai Cancer Center offers weekly workshops overseen by Emily Rubin, an author and cancer survivor. Rubin uses prompts and quotes to get the creative juices flowing in her writers. "Participants do not need to have writing experience, and often caregivers are encouraged to participate. Participants utilize the time to share thoughts about cancer or take time out to not think about treatment and side effects," said Allison Snow, PhD, assistant director of cancer supportive services at the Mount Sinai Hospital.
    - Alison Snow, PhD, Assistant Director, Cancer Supportive Services, The Mount Sinai Hospital

  • Vitamin C Slows Leukemia In Mice By Tweaking Key Gene - Emma Laycock
    August 21, 2017
    High doses of vitamin C may help fight certain leukemias by boosting the activity of a particular gene, according to a new study. Daily injections of vitamin C slowed the progression of leukemia in mice with a faulty gene called TET2, and increased efficiency in the drug treatment. "If these findings withstand clinical testing, the impact for patients with blood cancers could be significant," said Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, associate professor of oncological sciences, medicine, hematology, and medical oncology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    - Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Oncological Sciences, Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Vitamin C Blocks Leukemia Progression In Mice — Aggie Mika
    August 17, 2017
    Researchers have halted the progression of leukemia in mice by restoring the enzyme TET2 in hematopoietic stem cells, either by reestablishing its gene expression in transgenic mice or by promoting the protein’s function with high doses of vitamin C. In a small experiment, vitamin C injections also suppressed leukemia progression in immunocompromised mice transplanted with hematopoietic stem cells from two leukemia patients. “If these findings withstand clinical testing, the impact for patients with blood cancers could be significant,” said Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, associate professor of oncological sciences, medicine, hematology, and medical oncology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “These patients have currently limited therapeutic options, particularly the more elderly patients, who cannot tolerate highly toxic treatment, like high-dose chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation.”
    -Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Oncological Sciences, Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Comparing Male And Female Breast Cancer — Charles Shapiro, MD
    August 14, 2017
    Men have breast tissue too, and some of them will develop breast cancers. Estimates of the annual incidence of invasive breast cancer in men in 2017 are just less than 2,500 cases, or 1 in 1,000 men over their lifetime. In contrast, the incidence of invasive breast cancer in women in the United States is about 253,000, or 1 in 8 women over the course of a lifetime. The primary risk factors for breast cancer in men and women are similar, with one exception. Common to both sexes is aging, although the average age at presentation is slightly older in men about 66, versus 61 years in women. Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at the Tisch Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, “Perhaps the most interesting aspect of male breast cancer is the higher frequency of inherited genetic mutations in predisposing breast cancer genes of known importance in female breast cancers.”
    - Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Answers To 'Critical Questions' May Personalize Treatment Of HPV-Associated Head, Neck Cancer
    August 10, 2017
    Prevalence of head and neck cancers increased from 30,000 total cases in 1996 to 50,000 in 2016. It is difficult to determine the primary cause of this trend because of the nature of how the virus develops and spreads, said Krzysztof Misiukiewicz, MD, associate professor of medical oncology an otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and HPV program for men at the Mount Sinai Center for Head and Neck Cancer. "We know that it takes at least 10 years from exposure of the virus to develop cancer. There are no proven reasons why this prevalence is occurring, but some ideas include migration - there is increased incidence of the infection in other areas or the world - lack of public awareness, and moving away from the traditional model of sexual partners" added Dr. Misiukiewicz. Raising awareness about vaccination should be a priority for clinicians.
    - Krzysztof Misiukiewicz, MD, Associate Professor, Medical Oncology, Assistant Professor, Otolaryngology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, HPV Program for Men, Mount Sinai Center for Head and Neck Cancer
  • Cancer Survivors More Likely To Be Prescribed Opioids Even Years Later - Alexa Mieses, MD
    August 7, 2017
    As if battling cancer wasn't enough, many long-term survivors may eventually find themselves dealing with opioid dependency, according to a new study. Cancer survivors are substantially more likely to be prescribed opioid painkillers over many years. Prescription opioids, which are in the same class as illicit heroin, are often indicated and prescribed for pain during cancer treatment and recovery. "This article highlights a dilemma about those long-term survivors who are on chronic opioids, and maybe we should take a harder look at them in terms of pain management," said Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at The Tisch Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "But we often don't have the resources to take that harder look. It is important not to discount the usefulness of opioids for helping cancer patients manage serious, sometimes debilitating pain." We can't lose the message that opioids are indicated for that group with chronic pain and they work well, Dr. Shapiro added.
    - Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Six Warning Signs Of Stomach Cancer That Have Nothing To Do With Pain - Markham Heid
    August 4, 2017
    Stomach cancer has a reputation for being one of the most painful forms of cancer. But for many sufferers, pain is not among the disease's early warning signs. In fact, the most common feature of stomach cancer's early stages may be that it causes no symptoms at all, says Umut Sarpel, MD, an associate professor of surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "We all get stomachaches from time to time, and that can make people worry about stomach cancer," said Dr. Sarpel. "But it's not one of the most common cancers, and in most cases stomachaches or pain are not going to be the result of cancer."
    - Umut Sarpel, MD, Associate Professor, Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Medscape - Essential Cancer Updates For Primary Care Physicians - Liam Davenport
    August 4, 2017
    The American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting not only provides a focus for cancer specialists looking for updates on state-of-the-art treatments and novel therapies but also presents research directly related to primary care physicians. William Oh, MD, professor of medicine, hematology, medical oncology, and urology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai provides takeaways on how the findings could influence primary care. The findings included helping smokers navigate skin cancer screening, which can improve detection rates. "We know that over the past few years, randomized trials have demonstrated the benefit of lung cancer screening in smokers. In this study, there was evidence that this approach really worked, particularly in community health centers, where lower-income smokers may not have the same access to some of the lung cancer screening guidelines as patients in private centers," said Dr. William Oh, Professor, Medicine, Hematology, Medical Oncology, Urology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
  • Healio -FDA Approves Imbruvica As First Therapy For Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease - James L.M. Ferrara, MD, DSc
    August 2, 2017
    The FDA approved ibrutinib for the treatment of adults with chronic graft-versus-host disease who failed prior systemic therapy. "Chronic GVHD is a major toxicity of bone marrow transplant, which is one of the most effective therapies we have for high-risk malignancies. Both patients and physicians are reluctant to undertake transplantation, not only because of its initial intensity, but because of some of the long-term toxicities. Even if patients are cured of their leukemia or lymphoma, they can end up with this immune-mediated disease that can affect their skin, liver, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and joints. When it is severe, it can be fatal. It is the dark side of the therapy," says author of perspective James L. M. Ferrara, MD, professor of oncological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

    Additional coverage:
    Medscape

  • CBS New York - A Deep Dive: The Breast Cancer Pill— Pat Farnack
    July 31, 2017
    Research of a new breast cancer pill, Olaparib, found that it can be used to treat a certain rare form of breast cancer. Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, ”the more we take a deep dive into the growth of these cells, the more we find that these breast cancers are different. Each woman has a unique breast cancer, instead of targeting that cancer with chemotherapy; we need to find the actual defect and targeting therapy based on the genes that make the tumor thick.” This breast cancer pill can be given to certain breast cancer populations instead of chemotherapy. - Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai