Damon Runyon Researchers

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Andrew L. Ji, MD

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is the second most common cancer in the U.S. While most cases are caught early and cured with excision, this cancer is more aggressive in the organ transplant recipient (OTR) population, with higher rates of recurrence and metastasis. Treatment options are severely limited in these cases. OTRs require immunosuppression, which is linked to cSCC aggression, but the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms are poorly understood. Dr. Ji has discovered an invasive cSCC subpopulation that communicates with non-malignant cell types in the tumor’s environment. By profiling OTR tumors using cutting-edge single-cell and spatial technologies, he aims to better understand how this harmful subpopulation emerges in the immunosuppressed setting, aided by crosstalk with these neighboring cells. His goal is to develop strategies for disabling invasion and improving treatment of cSCC in both OTRs and advanced cases in the general population.

Project title: "Dissecting spatial crosstalk in squamous cell carcinoma arising in organ transplant recipients"
Institution: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Award Program: Clinical Investigator
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Miriam Merad, MD, PhD
Cancer Type: Skin
Research Area: Genomics