Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Gastrointestinal Cancer Program

The mission of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program is to define the fundamental mechanisms underlying gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies that can be translated into diagnostic and therapeutic innovations for managing cancer inpatients and underserved populations. The program looks to define molecular mechanisms underlying GI organ-based tumorigenesis, translate mechanistic discoveries into novel tools and strategies to improve prevention, early detection, prognosis, prediction, risk-stratification, and treatment for GI malignancies and advance new technologies into clinical trials to change practice in cancer prevention, control, and treatment across individual patients and the underserved.

The GIC Program is led by Scott A. Waldman MD PhD and Charles J. Yeo MD. This leadership team was specifically assembled for the complementary skills, perspectives and experiences that the individuals bring to their roles. Each has an established track record of success directing individual basic, translational and clinical research programs. GIC is a Disease-Oriented multi-disciplinary group of 25 basic, translational and clinical investigators with a common focus on identifying novel mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis that can be translated into new diagnostics and therapeutics to prevent or treat cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. The overarching goal of GIC is to define the fundamental mechanisms underlying gastrointestinal malignancies that can be translated into diagnostic and therapeutic innovations for managing cancer in patients and underserved populations, those relevant to the SKCC catchment area.

Leadership

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Program Leader- Scott Waldman MD PhD is an established physician investigator focusing on the discovery of new molecular insights and their translation into novel paradigms that advance the care of GI cancer patients. Key discoveries include identifying GUCY2C as a novel tumor suppressor integral to colorectal tumor initiation; the utility of GUCY2C as a tumor-specific target to eliminate metastatic tumors originating from colon, rectum, pancreas, stomach and esophagus using antibody-drug conjugates, vaccines, and CAR-T cells; and the utility of GUCY2C as a molecular marker of metastatic GI tumors that can be used for staging and postoperative surveillance in patients with GI tumors. The significance of these findings is reflected in their advancement from molecular discoveries in the laboratory into peer-reviewed clinical trials, generation of institutional intellectual property (>60 awarded/pending patents), and the advancement of laboratory-based discoveries into commercial development (Previstage™, Indusatumab™). Beyond the laboratory, he is the inaugural Chair of the TJU Dept. of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Moreover, he is the inaugural director of institutional training programs in translational medicine, including a long standing T32 training grant in Clinical Pharmacology, the Training Program in Human Investigation and the MD/PhD dual degree program. He has held long-standing (>10 years) membership on, and chaired NCI subcommittee J. He has held major leadership positions in all pharmacology-focused professional organizations, including President of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an is a member of: the Board of Directors for the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, the American Board of Clinical Pharmacology, and the Council of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

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Program Co-Leader Charles Yeo MD is an internationally-recognized expert in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Yeo’s primary research interests are in the fields of hepatopancreaticobiliary surgery (the evaluation of patients with pancreatic and related cancers), and the management of patients with unusual pancreatic neoplasms. His essential contributions span the bench-to-bedside continuum, and have transformed the care of patients. Through his leadership and vision, Dr. Yeo was instrumental in developing one of the most important xenograft banks of pancreatic cancers. This biobank enabled seminal discoveries of critical genes and pathways involved in the pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer (e.g. DPC4, p53, K-ras, and BRCA2). In turn, these discoveries have remarkably shaped current personalized therapeutic strategies for this devastating disease. Indeed, this work initiated his NIH funding in the area of pancreatic cancer, beginning in 1991, and he continues to lead a team which receives extramural funding to evaluate and optimize personalized targeted therapies for pancreatic cancer. At the other end of the continuum, Dr. Yeo has created practice-changing innovations in the surgical management of gastrointestinal oncology patients. His design and completion of numerous prospective randomized clinical trials have substantially impacted the field of pancreatic surgery, particularly the most difficult of all pancreatic procedures, the pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure). In that context, he has been a pioneer in transforming this complex surgery into a safe and effective therapeutic option for patients with pre-malignant and early stage tumors. His seminal innovations have included, but are not limited to, optimizing anastomoses in the Whipple procedure, defining the utility of the Whipple procedure along the aging continuum, and evaluating celiac nerve block in patients with pancreatic cancer. Dr. Yeo has authored over 525 peer reviewed scientific papers, numerous abstracts, over 110 book chapters, and 22 books or monographs.

Members

BRODY, JONATHAN R.

CHERVONEVA, INNA

FONG, LOUISE YY

GRABOCKA, ELDA

HAJNOCZKY, GYORGY

HOEK, JOANNES B. (JAN)

LANZA-JACOBY, SUSAN

LOREN, DAVID E.

MITCHELL, EDITH P.

MULLIN, JAMES

MYERS, RONALD E.

POLYAK, BORIS

POSEY, JAMES

RADICE, GLENN

RATTAN, SATISH

SAMA, ASHWIN

SIRACUSA, LINDA D.

WALDMAN, SCOTT A

WHEATLEY, MARGARET

WINTER, JORDAN

YANG, HUSHAN

YEO, CHARLES J.