Blood Cancers

Current Projects
Albert G. Tsai, MD, PhD

Dr. Tsai is developing next-generation diagnostics for low abundance cellular cancer samples. By measuring 40 or more markers simultaneously on individual tumor cells deposited on glass slides, he hopes to enable definitive diagnoses of blood and lymph node cancers without the need for invasive surgery or a histopathology laboratory. These methods will also provide a unique way to study these cancers, by merging traditional light microscopy with automated antibody-based multi-marker analysis.

Project title: "Diagnosis of hematologic malignancies from paucicellular aspirate material using highly multiplexed single cell analysis"
Institution: Stanford University
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Sean Bendall, PhD
Cancer Type: Blood
Research Area: Pathology
Aaron D. Viny, MD

Dr. Viny [William Raveis Charitable Fund Fellow] is studying the oncogenic role of abnormalities in the cohesin complex-a group of proteins that function to align and stabilize sister chromatids (copies of the chromosomes) during cell division.  Mutations within several proteins in this complex have been identified in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, particularly acute myeloid leukemia, the most common adult leukemia. Although it was presumed these mutations would result in unbalanced chromosomal breaks, this outcome has not yet been observed. He is exploring the mechanistic role of cohesin mutations in cancer pathophysiology and is investigating novel targeted therapies to block this pathway.

Project title: "Role of the cohesin complex in oncogenic transformation of AML"
Institution: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Named Award: William Raveis Charitable Fund Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Ross L. Levine, MD
Cancer Type: Blood
Research Area: Cancer Genetics
Ly P. Vu, PhD

Dr. Vu is studying childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a complex and heterogeneous disease. Despite exciting advances in our understanding of AML and the availability of more aggressive treatment regimens, ~30% of children still eventually relapse from this disease and there are yet no approved targeted therapies for children with AML. Her project aims to uncover the role of Syncrip, a novel RNA binding protein, in maintaining the leukemia stem cell in AML. The study will provide insights into the mechanism underlying the cause and development of AML and may lead to innovative therapeutic strategies and improved clinical outcomes for this deadly childhood disease.

Project title: "Uncovering the role of RNA-binding protein Syncrip in acute myeloid leukemia (AML)"
Institution: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Award Program: Sohn Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Michael Kharas, PhD, and Ross L. Levine, MD
Cancer Type: Blood, Pediatric
Research Area: Stem Cell Biology
Yi Yin, PhD

Dr. Yin is using newly developed state-of-the-art single cell sequencing technology to examine how DNA repair mechanisms go awry and contribute to cancer initiation and progression, as well as response to chemotherapy. Cancer cells usually have characteristic loss-of-heterozygosity, copy number variation and other types of genome rearrangements. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms, genomic and cell contexts and effects from different allele variants in DNA repair genes of each individual may help guide treatment approaches for many cancer types, including breast, skin, and blood cancers.

Project title: "Global analysis of DNA break repair by single-cell sequencing"
Institution: University of Washington
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Jay A. Shendure, MD, PhD
Cancer Type: Blood, Breast, Skin, All Cancers
Research Area: Chromosome and Telomere Biology
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