December 2020
From TCI Director Dr. Ramon Parsons
This has been a year like no other, with relentless challenges and the need to swiftly adapt to evolving priorities. I am proud of our proven ability to rise to the challenges with commitment, ingenuity, tireless drive, and tremendous collegiality. All while continuing to advance cancer treatments and embrace opportunities for investigating how to best care for cancer patients in the face of COVID-19. Our progress in pushing ahead with new discoveries and clinical applications—both related to COVID-19 and not—has not waned. Along the way, we have welcomed new faculty and trainees, launched new cancer centers of excellence, and successfully renewed our NCI-Designated Cancer Center status.

As the year ends, our Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology is undergoing a transition. Dr. William Oh has decided to step down as Division Chief, effective December 31, 2020. Dr. Matthew Galsky will assume the role of Acting Chief, effective January 1, 2021. Thanks to Dr. Oh’s leadership, the Division is well positioned to continue making significant strides as we move forward. For more information and details, read the full announcement.

My appreciation to all for the tremendous efforts of 2020; I look forward to a productive 2021 with you. And, my best wishes for a safe, healthy, and joyous holiday season.
New Cancer Center of Excellence
The Center of Excellence for Prostate Cancer, Ash Tewari, MD, Director, is the newest cancer center of excellence.
New Faculty
Arvind Gopal Kamthan, MD, has joined Mount Sinai as Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) and Site Chief for Hematology and Medical Oncology at Mount Sinai Brooklyn.

Dr. Kamthan earned his medical degree from S.M.S. Medical College in Jaipur, India. He completed residencies in Internal Medicine at S.M.S. Medical College, at the Hospitals of Newcastle upon Tyne in the United Kingdom, and at West Virginia University/Charleston Area Medical Center. Dr. Kamthan did fellowship training in Medical Oncology at Manchester University in the United Kingdom and in Neoplastic Diseases at Mount Sinai.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Kamthan held faculty appointments in Hematology and Medical Oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine, the University of Connecticut, and West Virginia University, and was in private practice for more than 20 years.

Dr. Kamthan conducted research on immune cell markers and myelodysplastic syndromes under Azra Raza, MD, at Columbia University, and has been principal investigator on numerous cancer clinical trials. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.
Raisa Pinto, MD, has joined Mount Sinai as Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology). She sees patients at Mount Sinai Brooklyn.

Dr. Pinto earned her MD at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences in India, and Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital in Mumbai. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and fellowship training in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She also did a fellowship in Lymphoma and Myeloma at MD Anderson Cancer Center and a fellowship in Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant at Case Western Medical Center.
Larysa Sanchez, MD, has joined Mount Sinai as Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, specializing in multiple myeloma and related diseases. Dr. Sanchez is involved in clinical research focused on novel drugs and drug combinations at the Center of Excellence for Multiple Myeloma. She sees patients at The Ruttenberg Treatment Center and The Blavatnik Family – Chelsea Medical Center at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Sanchez received her medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada. She completed residency in Internal Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at Mount Sinai. Dr. Sanchez served as both Chief Resident and Chief Fellow.
Dr. Sanchez was honored by the American Society of Hematology in 2019-2020 as a Clinical Research Training Institute Scholar, and was the recipient in 2019 of the International Myeloma Society Young Investigator Award. 
David Anderson, MD, FACS, has joined Mount Sinai as Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Breast Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Anderson treats patients with breast cancer and benign breast conditions at the Dubin Breast Center.
Dr. Anderson received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia. He completed residency training in General Surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and a fellowship in Breast Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (Sloan). He also completed a research fellowship in Surgical Oncology at Sloan.
Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Anderson was Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery in the Division of Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served on the Breast Cancer Steering Committee of the Abramson Cancer Center.
Lauren Gleckler, MD, has joined Mount Sinai as Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Breast Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Gleckler treats patients with breast cancer and benign breast conditions, as well as high risk patients, at Mount Sinai Queens and The Blavatnik Family – Chelsea Medical Center at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Gleckler received her medical degree from New York Medical College. She completed residency training in General Surgery at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and a fellowship in Breast Surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. She also did specialized training in oncoplastic techniques for aesthetically pleasing surgery results.
Julio Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD, received an ASPIRE Award (Accelerating Scientific Platforms and Innovative Research) from the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research for “Evolutionary Distant DCC Populations Cooperate to Shape Lung Immune Niches for Dormancy and Reactivation.” Dr. Aguirre-Ghiso and co-investigators—Maria Soledad Sosa, PhD, and Brian Brown, PhD—will test the hypothesis that late in cancer progression, early and late disseminated cancer cells (DCCs) cooperate to drive metastatic outgrowth. They will test whether cooperation comes from the ability of late DCCs to awaken dormant early DCCs via the production of inhibitors of pro-dormancy pathways in early DCCs, and whether later-arriving late DCCs recruit bone marrow-derived macrophages that polarize alveolar macrophages for inflammation and produce additional immune suppression and inhibitors of pro-dormancy pathways.

Nina Bhardwaj, MD, PhD, and Sacha Gnjatic, PhD, received the 2020 SITC Team Science Award under The Lloyd J. Old Lab Family category. The award recognizes teams of scientists that have made long-standing contributions to the field of biological therapy/immunotherapy over the past 35 years.

Clinical Care Updates
Infusion Therapy at Union Square

Mount Sinai-Union Square now provides infusion therapy services on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with plans to expand days and hours of operation.
844-9-INFUSE (844-946-3873)

Although Union Square has an active Hematology/Oncology service, chemotherapy is not provided onsite. Both infusion therapy and chemotherapy are provided nearby at The Blavatnik Family – Chelsea Medical Center at Mount Sinai.
Interventional Radiology Service in Brooklyn

Interventional Radiology is now offered at Mount Sinai Brooklyn, under the direction of Shaun Honig, MD. Dr. Honig is Assistant Professor of Radiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Site Chair for the Department of Radiology at Mount Sinai Brooklyn. Cases can be referred via email to [email protected].
Update on Cellular Therapy Program

The Mount Sinai Hospital is an authorized treatment site for CAR T-cell therapy. Under the leadership of Keren Osman, MD, Director, and Deepu Madduri, MD, Associate Director, our cellular therapy program features a robust commercial and investigational portfolio and a strong research program that is setting standards for safe and optimal care.


Cell. 2020 Nov 25. PMID: 33242424

This paper reports on a comprehensive proteogenomics analysis, including whole-genome sequencing, RNA sequencing, and proteomics and phosphoproteomics profiling, of 218 tumors across 7 histological types of childhood brain cancer. It is the first large-scale proteogenomics analysis across traditional histological boundaries to uncover foundational pediatric brain tumor biology and inform rational treatment selection.

Hepatology. 2020 Nov 25. PMID: 33237575

This paper reports that genome‐wide DNA methylation profiles accurately discriminate the different histological stages of human hepatocarcinogenesis (HCC). The authors report on novel epigenetic gatekeepers in the transition between dysplastic nodules and early HCC and DNA methylation changes in cirrhotic tissue that correlate with clinical outcomes.
Ajai Chari, MD, et al.

Blood. 2020 Nov 6. PMID: 33156904

This global retrospective study describes the baseline characteristics and outcome data of COVID-19 infection in 650 patients with plasma cell disorders, collected by the International Myeloma Society to understand the initial challenges faced by multiple myeloma (MM) patients during COVID-19 pandemic. Multivariate analysis found that only age, high-risk MM, renal disease, and suboptimal MM control remained independent predictors of adverse outcome with COVID-19 infection. This collaborative international effort provides the first large-scale analysis and suggestions on the management of patients with MM during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology. 2020 Nov 24

In this review article, the researchers highlight recent work describing how cancer cells regulate the actin cytoskeleton to achieve efficient invasion and metastatic colonization. They also review new imaging technologies that are capable of revealing the complex architecture and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton during motility and invasion of tumor cells. Understanding the dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton will aid the development of targeted therapeutics that may prevent the dissemination of cancer cells and metastasis formation.

JNCI Cancer Spectrum. 2020 Nov 2

This study used the Mount Sinai Health System COVID-19 registry data to compare COVID-19 patients with and without cancer to assess whether cancer was associated with COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Cancer patients were significantly more likely to develop sepsis and venous thromboembolism than those without cancer, with no significant difference in short-term mortality, after accounting for differences in age and comorbidities.  

bioRxiv. Preprint

This study reveals for the first time a specific bone marrow cell type—NG2+/Nestin+ mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs)—that maintains both hematopoietic stem cell and disseminated tumor cell (DTC) dormancy. The study reveals that periarteriolar bone marrow-resident NG2+/Nestin+ MSCs can instruct breast cancer DTCs to enter dormancy via bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP7) and transforming growth factor beta-2 (TGFB2). The results provide novel functional evidence for the long-held notion that HSC dormancy niches support DTC dormancy, and also suggest that aging or extrinsic factors that affect the NG2+/nestin+ MSC niche may result in a break from dormancy and breast cancer bone relapse.

Nature Cancer. 2020 Nov 16

This paper reports on a phase II trial (NCT02129075) that tested fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (Flt3) ligand pre-treatment enhancement of responses to dendritic cell-targeting vaccines. The study demonstrated in humans that a treatment regimen of Flt3L (CDX-301) facilitates rapid priming to vaccine antigen including both humoral and cellular immunity; yields higher magnitude of B-and T-cell immunity, including CD8+ T cell responses in significantly more individuals; and is durable over several months.

Cell. 2020 Oct 29. PMID: 33125893

The researchers developed a trained immunity-inducing nanobiologic therapeutic named   MTP10-HDL. They report that MTP10-HDL favorably accumulates in hematopoietic organs of mice and non-human primates, and that MTP10-HDL nanotherapy induces trained immunity through bone marrow progenitors in vivo and inhibits tumor growth and potentiates immune checkpoint inhibition. They demonstrate that rationally designed nanobiologics can promote trained immunity and elicit a durable anti-tumor response either as a monotherapy or in combination with checkpoint inhibitor drugs.
TCI faculty were well represented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, December 5-8.

Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, delivered a keynote address on “Recent Progress with PTEN” during the American Association for Cancer Research conference on Endometrial Cancer: Driving Research and Treatment, on November 10.
The Dubin Breast Center, Elisa Port, MD, Director, celebrated its 10th year anniversary with a virtual gala on December 7.

Sacha Gnjatic, PhD, presented on November 13 at the Computational Approaches for Cancer Workshop, part of SC20 Supercomputing—The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis
Save the Date
Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
January 25, 2021
Do you have news for the next issue of TCI Connections

Please send to Janet Aronson (646-745-6376)

Remember to share breaking news and high impact news that might be appropriate for media coverage with Marlene Naanes (929-237-5802) in the Press Office. This may include pending FDA drug/device approvals, studies/trial results being published in high-impact journals, and patient stories. The more lead time you can give Marlene, the better—ideally, four weeks or when a paper is accepted by the journal. Embargoes will always be honored and news will only be released with your approval.
  TCI Connections  is a monthly publication of The Tisch Cancer Institute
Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director
Janet Aronson , Editor
Past issues of  TCI Connections  are available on the TCI website