The Tisch Cancer Institute

In the News

Our investigators and clinicians are advancing research, clinical care, and treatment.

2018 Accomplishments

Robert P. Fisher, MD, PhD, et al
A Cdk9-PP1 switch regulates the elongation-termination transition of RNA polymerase II
Nature. 2018 Jun 13
PMID: 29899453

This study uncovers a key event in transcription, the first step in gene expression whereby information encoded in DNA is converted to RNA. A switch consisting of two opposing enzymes—the protein kinase Cdk9 and the phosphatase PP1—controls the activity of a conserved elongation factor to determine where the transcribed RNA is terminated.

Arvin C. Dar, PhD, Ross L. Cagan, PhD, et al
A whole-animal platform to advance a clinical kinase inhibitor into new disease space
Nat Chem Biol. 2018 Mar
PMID: 29355849

This paper reports on a new multidisciplinary Drosophila/chemistry platform for generating novel polypharmacological drugs that are optimized for kinase networks both within the tumor and in the context of the whole animal. The authors identify multiple kinase activities that strongly impact response to the approved drug sorafenib, and demonstrate how this information can be used to tune drugs such as sorafenib into new and potentially improved therapeutic spaces.

Jia Chen, ScD, Jun Zhu, PhD, et al
Novel Predictors of Breast Cancer Survival Derived from miRNA Activity Analysis
Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Feb 1
PMID: 29138345

Dr. Chen, Dr. Zhu and colleagues identify novel markers that may improve prognostic efficiency while shedding light on molecular mechanisms of breast cancer progression and may lead to development of new targets for therapy.

John O. Mascarenhas, MD, Ronald Hoffman, MD, et al
Pacritinib vs Best Available Therapy, Including Ruxolitinib, in Patients With Myelofibrosis: A Randomized Clinical Trial
JAMA Oncol. 2018 May 1
PMID: 29522138

The authors report on a pivotal study that may ultimately lead to the approval of a novel therapy for myelofibrosis.

Allessandro Lagana, PhD, Samir Parekh, MD, et al
Precision Medicine for Relapsed Multiple Myeloma on the Basis of an Integrative Multiomics Approach
JCO Precision Oncology

A group led by Mount Sinai researchers developed a DNA- and RNA-based sequencing computational method to identify genetic mutations in patients with relapsed multiple myeloma and potentially tailor treatments based on tumor susceptibility to certain drugs.

Brian D. Brown, PhD, et al
Protein Barcodes Enable High-Dimensional Single-Cell CRISPR Screens
Cell. 2018 Nov 1
PMID: 30343902

Scientists at Mount Sinai developed a novel technology for simultaneously analyzing the functions of hundreds of genes with resolution reaching the single cell level. The Pro-Code technology could greatly accelerate annotation of the human genome, which is essential for discovering disease-causing genes that could lead to novel drug targets.
Related Press Release

Jose Javier Bravo-Cordero, PhD was awarded a Career Catalyst Research grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to study how breast cancer cells can lay dormant in the bone, leading to metastasis years after treatment.

Jian Jin, PhD and Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD were awarded an R01 (PQ9) to conduct researchexpected to validate the hypothesis that pharmacological degradation of EZH2 (enhancer of zeste homolog 2), which is overexpressed in a broad spectrum of cancers including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), will provide a novel therapeutic strategy for treating TNBC.

Nearly $3 million in funding was awarded for breast cancer research projects across New York State. The projects focus on breast cancer causes, prevention, screening, and treatment, as well as new educational strategies to lower risk factors. Grant awardees include Jose Silva, PhD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Oncological Sciences, and Lina Jandorf, MA, Research Professor, Department of Population Health Science and Policy, and Director of Cancer Community Outreach (co-PI: Jamilia Sly, PhD, Assistant Professor, Population Health Science and Policy).

Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, was granted a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award to investigate key molecular mechanisms sustaining leukemia stem cell (LSC) properties that may constitute promising therapeutic agents. Dr. Papapetrou’s laboratory, which has pioneered the modeling of myeloid malignancies with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), developed the first iPSC models of acute myeloid leukemia and found that hematopoietic cells derived from them recapitulate salient features of LSCs. Using this model, Dr. Papapetrou and her team prospectively obtain large numbers of genetically clonal LSC-like human cells and perform genome-wide integrative molecular analyses and large-scale screening.

Dr. Papapetrou was also awarded an R01 grant for Identification of therapeutic targets for leukemia stem cells in AML-IPSC models

David Dominquez-Sola,MD,PhD, was awarded an R01 for Role of FOXO1 mutations in the pathogenesis of B cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

Dr. Dominguez-Solawas also selected as a Medical Research Award grantee from Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research in support of his research project: MYC-dependent replication stress as a pathogenic driver and therapeutic target in aggressive B cell lymphomas.

Arvin Dar,PhD, was awarded an R01 for Targeting oncogenic Ras-MAPK signaling complexes via the scaffold KSR.

Robert Fisher,MD,PhD, was awarded R35 grant funding over a five-year period for research focused on understanding how signaling by cyclin-dependent kinases regulates and coordinates gene expression and cell proliferation.

Madhavika Niroshini Serasinghe, PhD was awarded a K22 grant for Mechanistic, prognostic, and therapeutic impact of the mitochondrial fission GTPase DRP1 in melanoma.

Amaia Lujambio, PhD, was awarded an R01 grant for “Tumor-intrinsic signaling pathways restrict anti-tumor immunity in hepatocellular carcinoma.”

Dr. Lujambio also received a Damon-Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation for her project “Overcoming the resistance to anti-PD1 immunotherapy in hepatocellular carcinoma.”

Juan Wisnivesky, MD, DrPH, Paolo Boffetta, MD,MPH, Guy H. Montgomery, PhD, received a National Cancer Institute Grant Award: Training Program in Cancer Prevention and Control (CPC) for Priority Populations. The goal of the CPC postdoctoral research training program is to launch the careers of a new generation of clinical and non-clinical researchers prepared to apply a multidisciplinary approach to CPC research targeting priority populations. The program will matriculate two candidates each year for the two-year fellowship, training a total of 10 new investigators over five years.

Emily Bernstein, PhD and Robert J. DeVita, PhD received funding through the CTSA Translational 4D Pilot Program, designed to develop innovative technologies and methodologies, test the feasibility of novel approaches, and stimulate inter-disciplinary collaborations that test generalizable solutions to translational research problems. Their project, Histone chaperone inhibition as a novel epigenetic strategy in cancer treatment, investigates targeting of histone variants as an unexplored therapeutic strategy with the potential to change cellular chromatin states and disease outcomes in cancer.

Benjamin D. Greenbaum, PhD, was awarded a Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research by the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance. Dr. Greenbaum was one of seven to receive the award, given annually to promising early career, New York City-area cancer research scientists, with the goal of supporting bold research that helps grow New York City as a biomedical research hub. Dr. Greenbaum’s research uses a new computational approach to modeling tumor-immune recognition to integrate information about the tumor and its environment into improved predictions of response to immunotherapy. Dr. Greenbaum is being funded in partnership with The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research which rewards cutting-edge, innovative ideas that transform patient care and answer complex questions about cancer biology.

Dr. Greenbaum is co-leader of a Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)-Lustgarten Foundation Convergence Research Team that is exploring the underpinnings of pancreatic survivorship. The goal is to develop a method for creating vaccines to treat pancreatic cancer.

The Taub Foundation Grant Program for Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) provided funding to Lewis Silverman, MD, for two collaborative projects aimed at improving treatment options for patients with MDS. One is focused on the impact of treatment for MDS on the response and control of clonal switching and the relationship of the MDS clones to hematopoietic function in patients. The other aims to identify a distinct immune signature between patients with low risk, high risk, and progressive MDS, and to assess the impact of hypomethylating agents and immunotherapy on the bone marrow immune system in the context of MDS.

Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, received the 2018 William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic Immunology in recognition of her groundbreaking contributions relating to the biology of macrophages and dendritic cells, including defining their roles in the context of immunotherapy and tumor development. Dr. Merad leads the cancer immunology program at The Tisch Cancer Institute.

Dr. Merad also received a Senior Faculty Award from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai at the Annual Faculty Council Awards Ceremony.

Arvin Dar, PhD, received a Junior Faculty Award from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai at the Annual Faculty Council Awards Ceremony.

Samuel Waxman, MD, Distinguished Service Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and founder and CEO of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, received the "Friendship Award" from the People's Republic of China in recognition of more than 30 years of U.S.-China scientific cooperation for cancer research and the successful development of a treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia that now has a greater than 90% cure rate.

Mount Sinai’s Multiple Myeloma Program, Sundar Jagannath, MD, Director, received the 2018 Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) Accelerator Award from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) in recognition of exceptional contributions to the rapid initiation and completion of clinical trials supported through the MMRC as well as leadership in the consortium and innovative clinical translational efforts in the areas of immune biology and myeloma genomic data analysis and validation.

Janice L. Gabrilove, MD, FACP, was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). She previously served on the review committees for the LLS Career Development Program and the LLS Scholar Awards. Dr. Gabrilove has two patented discoveries which have significantly impacted outcomes for patients with hematologic malignancies: arsenic trioxide formulation, a curative therapeutic for acute promyelocytic leukemia, and human granulocyte colony stimulating factor, or G-CSF (neupogen/neulasta), which has enabled development of curative therapies including the use of peripheral blood progenitor cell transplantation. Dr. Gabrilove is The James F. Holland Professor of Medicine and Oncological Sciences, Associate Director of Education and Training at The Tisch Cancer Institute, and Director of Clinical Research Education Programs for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Margaret H. Baron, MD, PhD, was named chair of the Molecular and Cellular Hematology (MCH) Study Section of the National Institute of Health (NIH), which reviews applications involving both basic and applied aspects of normal and abnormal hematopoiesis. Dr. Baron is the Fishberg Professor of Medicine, Senior Associate Dean for Education, and Director of the MD-PhD Program. She is also Professor of Oncological Sciences and Professor of Cell, Developmental & Regenerative Biology. Dr. Baron has nearly 30 years of continuous, independent NIH-sponsored research funding in developmental hematopoiesis.

Adriana K. Malone, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, and Medical Education, was selected as one of 12 participants in the 2018-2019 Education Scholars Program through the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The year-long program imparts expertise in the design of education activities and leadership skills aimed at enhancing the ASCO learning portfolio and overall medical education.

Susan Boolbol, MD, was honored with the American Cancer Society’s 2017 Mother of the Year award in recognition of her community service and contributions to cancer control.

Ronald Hoffman, MD, Director of the Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Program, was honored with the 2017 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Mentor Award for decisively shaping the careers of 33 physicians, physician-scientists, and basic scientists, thereby advancing research and patient care.

Dr. Hoffman is the first Mount Sinai hematologist to receive this prestigious award. Dr. Hoffman is senior editor of the textbook Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice,

Amy Tiersten, MD, Clinical Director of Breast Medical Oncology at The Mount Sinai Hospital, was recognized by the Dubin Breast Center at its 2018 annual benefit for her commitment to breast cancer research.

The Tisch Cancer Institute, the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, and the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences hosted a Cancer Precision Medicine Retreat under the leadership of Adam Margolin, PhD, and Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, on May 25, 2018.

Links to all the sessions

Stephanie V. Blank, MD, was named Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science. She is also Fellowship Director for Gynecologic Oncology.

Peter R. Dottino, MD, was named Vice-Chair of Clinical Affairs for the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, and Executive Director of the The Blavatnik Family – Chelsea Medical Center at Mount Sinai.

Emily Bernstein, PhD, was named Coleader of the Cancer Mechanisms Research Program. Dr. Bernstein and fellow coleader Julio A. Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD, facilitate basic research on genetic, biochemical, and developmental pathways that drive cancer initiation and progression, and foster intra- and inter-program collaborations that accelerate the development of novel, targeted therapies.

Samir Parekh, MD, was named Director, Multiple Myeloma Translational Research. He directs translational research for identification of biomarkers and new drug development across the spectrum of patients with multiple myeloma.

TCI launched a summer research fellowship program for first year medical students who have not yet had extensive research experience. The fellowship supports original cancer research under the tutelage of a faculty mentor intended to lead to a scholarly research year between the student’s third and fourth years.

A Clinical Exposure Program was initiated for students in the Cancer Biology concentration of the PhD in Biomedical Sciences Program at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine The goals of the program are for students to (1) gain insight and motivation from interactions with patients; (2) learn to communicate about their research in lay-friendly language; and (3) gain a better understanding of clinical disease manifestations and treatment plans.

Adam Margolin, PhD, an internationally-renowned computational biologist, joined Mount Sinai as Chair and Professor of the Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, and Senior Associate Dean for Precision Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine.

Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, an internationally-renowned authority on lung cancer treatment and research, joined Mount Sinai as the Joe Lowe and louis Price Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology; Executive Director of the newly-created Center for Thoracic Oncology in The Tisch Cancer Institute; and Associate Director of Biomarker Discovery for The Tisch Cancer Institute. His research, spanning more than 25 years, has helped identify and validate prognostic and predictive markers for lung cancer outcomes and predictive markers for personalized lung cancer therapies, and also involves biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer.

Edward M. Wolin, MD, joined Mount Sinai as Director of the Center for Carcinoid and Neuroendocrine Tumors. An internationally-renowned authority on these tumors, known as NETs, Dr. Wolin has pioneered innovative therapies with novel somatostatin analogs, mTOR inhibitors, anti-angiogenic drugs, and peptide receptor radiotherapy.

Peter Wiklund, MD, PhD, world-renowned surgeon who pioneered robot-assisted cystectomy, was appointed by the Department of Urology as Director of the Bladder Cancer Program at Mount Sinai. Dr. Wiklund has extensive experience in advanced oncological surgery in patients whose tumor is growing on several pelvic organs.

J. Jaime Alberty, MD, FACS, joined Mount Sinai as Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Breast Surgery. He sees patients at the Dubin Breast Center, Mount Sinai Queens, and The Blavatnik Family – Chelsea Medical Center at Mount Sinai. Dr. Alberty has extensive experience in breast ultrasonography, sentinel lymph node biopsy, and nipple and areola-sparing mastectomies. As a "Hidden Scar" certified surgeon, he employs a number of oncoplastic techniques during his breast cancer operations.

Madhuri Devabhaktuni, MD, joined Mount Sinai as Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology. She sees patients at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and was instrumental in establishing an infusion center there.

Marta Luksza, PhD, joined Mount Sinai as an Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences. Dr. Luksza and collaborators created the first mathematical model to predict how a cancer patient will respond to immunotherapy, as reported in Nature.

Mobile Mammography

Mount Sinai’s Mammography Van, funded through a grant from New York State to provide women with access to breast cancer screening in their communities, began operations under the leadership of Laurie Margolies, MD, in October 2018.

New Infusion Centers

The Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Infusion Center opened in 2018. Serving the Upper West Side community, the unit provides chemotherapy, intravenous medications for benign hematologic conditions, therapeutic infusions for rheumatologic disorders, and blood transfusions.

The Mount Sinai Brooklyn Ambulatory Infusion Center opened in 2018. Under the leadership of Stefan Balan, MD, the unit supports oncology expertise, innovative cancer treatment, and clinical trials in a close-to-home treatment center for residents of Brooklyn.

New Unit for Immunocompromised Children

The Jack Martin Fund Inpatient Unit for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disease opened at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai.

Personalized Vaccine

A patient received, for the first time at Mount Sinai, a personalized vaccine regimen to prevent cancer recurrence. TCI has a state-of-the-art vaccine and cell therapy lab that is producing and testing the efficacy of these types of patient-specific vaccines for cancer. Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, and Co-leader of the TCI Cancer Immunology Research Program, directs the lab and the highly-integrated immunotherapy program focused on harnessing the immune system against cancer. Dr. Bhardwaj collaborated closely on this first vaccine with Eric M. Genden, MD, Professor and Chair of Otolaryngology, attending physician to the patient with head and neck cancer. The vaccine therapy protocol is part of TCI’s Novel Therapeutics Program, under the direction of Matthew Galsky, MD.

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