Summer 2021 EIPM External Newsletter

Summer 2021 EIPM External Newsletter

July 2021

Dear Friend of the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine,

Welcome to our second quarterly newsletter of 2021! Thank you for signing-up on our website to receive this newsletter, we hope you enjoy learning more about our researchers and the breakthroughs they are creating to advance science and speed new treatments to patients.

The work of the EIPM was a major focus within the June launch of Weill Cornell Medicine’s “We’re Changing Medicine” development campaign, including the critically important work of our colleagues Drs. Monica Guzman and Juan Miguel Mosquera in saving the life of patient Cheryl Bonder.

Over the past three months our team was interviewed for many interesting news stories, some of which are listed below. Additionally, I published an opinion article about Juneteenth and the Promise of Medical Equity, which I hope you enjoy reading. Over the past three months our colleagues earned highly-competitive awards, participated in a large number of virtual events, and published important papers in leading journals like Nature, Science, and Lancet Oncology.

I look forward to sharing more information with you this fall. Until then, please follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for daily updates.

Thank you again for your interest in our work!


Olivier Elemento,
EIPM Director


Awards & News Coverage
Congratulations to Dr. Laura Santambrogio on her new $1.2 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health for her study entitled, “Lymphatics-Glymphatics in CNS Fluid Homeostasis.”

Dr. Jonathan Zippin received a prestigious R01 grant from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases last month to study “Mechanisms of cAMP-dependent regulation of melanosome pH.”

Dr. Monica Guzman received the Weill Cornell Graduate School Faculty Diversity Award together with Bjorn Kafsack. Dr. Guzman is part of an amazing team, the WCGS Social Justice and Anti-racism Task Force (SJAR) focused on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Congratulations to Dr. Marcin Imielinski for earning a 2021 Pershing Square Sohn Prize for Young Investigators in Cancer Research. Using innovative methods to characterize structural changes in whole genome sequences, Dr. Imielinski hopes to  explain why certain acral melanomas and other similar cancers with few small mutations respond to immunotherapy by examining a novel class of genetic alterations called tyfonas.

Dr. Juan Miguel Mosquera was promoted to Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, congratulations!

Dr. Allyson Ocean (far right) and her sister Jennifer created a new nonprofit organization called Oceans of Blessings to “Provide healthier skincare and beauty products for patients undergoing cancer treatment to help throughout the cancer journey.”

Dr. Bishoy Faltas provided Expert Commentary in UroToday on a range of topics including, “Development and Validation of a NanoString BASE47 Classifier for the Molecular Classification of Bladder Cancer;” “Proteomic Biomarkers for Urothelial Cancer Based on the Tissue Preservation Methods;” “Germline Variants in Renal Cell Carcinoma Patients;” “Predicting Response to Immunotherapy in Patients with Metastatic Urothelial Cancer Using Radiomics;” and Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) Are Critical Players in Bladder Cancer Radioresistance.” Dr. Faltas was also interviewed for the article, “In Urothelial Cancer, Most Subtypes Benefit From Maintenance Bavencio (Avelumab),” in Managed Healthcare Executive on June 28th.

Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg was interviewed for the article “Cabazitaxel Demonstrates Improved Overall Survival when Compared to an Alternative AR-targeted Agent (CARD),” in UroToday on April 5th.

Dr. Lisa Newman and WCM colleagues published a Letter to the Editor of the New York Times on April 13th in response to an earlier article, “Breast Cancer Centers Urge Early, Annual Scans, Countering U.S. Guidelines.”  Dr. Newman was interviewed for the article “More extensive breast surgery does not appear to save any lives,” in MedPage Today, on May 5th. Dr. Newman was also interviewed for the article, “Breast-Conserving Surgery+RT Yields Significant Survival Benefits For Early-Stage Breast Cancer,” in the publication BreakingMD on May 6th.

Dr. Melissa B. Davis was recognized in the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting’s Opening Plenary Session: “Discovery Science Driving Clinical Breakthroughs,” for her work on genomic sequencing in diverse populations.

Dr. John Leonard was interviewed for the article, “Vaccinate Most Hematologic Malignancy Patients Against COVID-19,” in Oncology Times on April 20th.

Dr. Scott T. Tagawa was interviewed for “Pivotal data published for sacituzumab govitecan in bladder cancer,” which appeared in Urology Times on May 7th. Dr. Tagawa also presented a video, “Dr. Tagawa Discusses Study Results of Actinium J591 for mCRPC,” for the Oncology Learning Network on June 22nd.

Dr. Lewis Cantley was interviewed for the article “Can Curbing Thirst for Sugary Drinks Reduce Colon Cancer?— Two servings a day more than doubled risk in women younger than 50, study showed,” which appeared in MedPage Today on May 6th. Dr. Cantley also collaborated on the preprint “Pyruvate kinase M1 suppresses development and progression of prostate adenocarcinoma,” in bioRxiv on May 10th.

Dr. Nasser Altorki was interviewed for the article “In early lung cancer, immunotherapy plus targeted radiation may up response rate,” by Reuters Health on June 18th. Dr. Altorki was also interviewed for the article “Adding SBRT to neoadjuvant durvalumab shows promise in early NSCLC,” which appeared in Medicine Matters Oncology on June 25th.

Dr. Peter Martin was interviewed for “Real-World Treatment Reveals Discrepancy Between Actual Care and Clinical Trial Recommendations in MCL,” regarding his poster on mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) presented during European Hematology Association 2021 Virtual Congress, in OncLive on June 12th. Dr. Martin was also interviewed for the articles, “The complex situation for immunocompromised people and COVID-19 vaccines,” in National Geographic on June 16th; and “Discrepancies Between Real-World Patterns of Care and Recommendations Based on Clinical Trials Exist in MCL,” in OncLive on June 23rd; “MCL Treatment: Differences Exist Between Trial-Based Recommendations and Real-World Care,” in Cure Today on June 29th; and “The Gap Between Academic and Community-Based MCL Treatment,” in Targeted Oncology on June 30th.

Dr. Manish Shah was quoted in the article “Preoperative pembrolizumab may enhance major pathologic response in esophageal cancer,” that appeared in HemOncTodayon June 9th. Dr. Shah also presented a video, “Dr. Shah Discusses HER-RAM Study Results in HER2+ GI Cancers,” for the Oncology Learning Network on June 15th.

Finally, the EIPM was mentioned in a new article “What Is Precision Health & Why Are Organizations Suddenly Investing Billions In It?” in Forbes about the new Weill Cornell Medicine development campaign, on June 30th.


EIPM Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg 
presented “Exceptional Responder with Urothelial Cancer and discussion of the UC Landscape,” during our Precision Medicine virtual conference on June 10th.

Dr. Melissa B. Davis was a Guest Speaker at San Diego State University’s 2021 virtual Cancer Speaker Series lecture series and presented “Innovations in Cancer Disparities Research,” on April  8th. Dr. Davis served on a virtual panel discussing “African ancestry associations with clinical outcomes in cancer,” during AACR on April 15th. Dr. Davis presented the webinar, “Breast SPORE Seminar: The Role of African Ancestry in Breast Cancer Disparities,” for the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine on June 17th. And Dr. Melissa B. Davis will co-chair the AACR Virtual Conference: 14th AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved from October 6-8, 2021.

Our friends at The New York Genome Center held a (virtual) Very Rare Cancer Consortium research seminar on April 15th, during which I provided the Welcome remarks before a presentation by Sandip Patel, M.D. from the University of California San Diego. And Dr. Shauna L. Houlihan, EIPM’s Associate Director of Liver Research, presented during the New York Genome Center’s Very Rare Cancer Consortium Disease Spotlight & Research Roundtable focused on Hepatoblastoma on June 24th.

Drs. David Nanus, Cora N. Sternberg, and Scott Tagawa provided advanced prostate cancer treatment updates during during the New York City Prostate Cancer Summit on May 12th.

Our former colleague Dr. Loredana Puca presented research she conducted while at the EIPM, “Development & Characterization Of Patient Derived Organoids To Model Rare Prostate Cancer Phenotypes,” at the April 13th Organoid Discovery Symposium.

I was honored to serve as Chair of the Day 2 workshop of the 17th Annual International Cancer Genome Consortium (virtual) Scientific Workshop on May 15th.

Dr. Scott Tagawa presented findings from the VISION clinical trial evaluating 177Lu-PSMA-617 in men with PSMA-positive metastatic prostate cancer at the ASCO2021 Plenary Session, which was selected as a top-5 abstract for the entire conference. Dr. Tagawa also created a video presentation, “Determining Dose-Limiting Toxicity and Maximum Tolerated Dose of 225Ac-J591 in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer,” for ASCO2021.

Dr. Monica Guzman presented her research as part of the Weill Cornell Medicine ACCESS Summer Research Program on June 22nd.

Assistant Professor Alex Sigaras presented an XR Healthcare speakers series lecture, “XR Healthcare: XR in Medicine in the Era of Precision Medicine,” for the Stanford Healthcare Innovation Lab on June 29th.


Drs. André F. Rendeiro, Niroshana Anandasabapathy and I, together with Hiranmayi Ravichandran, collaborated on the paper “A molecular single-cell lung atlas of lethal COVID-19,” in Nature on April 29th.

Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi and colleagues published, “A naturally occurring mutation in ATP synthase subunit c is associated with increased damage following hypoxia/reoxygenation in STEMI patients,” in Cell Reports on April 13th.

Bhavneet Bhinder and I, together with and our former colleagues Drs. Coryandar Gilvary and Neel S. Madhukar, published the article “Artificial Intelligence in Cancer Research and Precision Medicine,” in the April edition of Cancer Discovery.

Dr. Heng Pan and I, together with WCM colleagues published, “QSER1 protects DNA methylation valleys from de novo methylation,” in the April 9th edition of Science Magazine.

EIPM Ph.D.-candidate Jamal Elkhader and I published “Artificial Intelligence in Oncology: From Bench to Clinic,” in Seminars in Cancer Biology on April 26th.

Jyothi Manohar, Scott Kulm, and Drs. Rachel Martini, Andrea Sboner, Melissa B. Davis, and I, together with WCM colleagues, published the pre-print, “Social and Clinical Determinants of COVID-19 Outcomes: Modeling Real-World Data from a Pandemic Epicenter,” in medRxiv on April 7th.

Drs. Lisa Newman, Melissa B. Davis, WCM team members, and other colleagues published “Investigation of triple-negative breast cancer risk alleles in an International African-enriched cohort,” in Scientific Reports on April 29th.

Drs. Wael Al Zoughbi, Kentaro Ohara, Francesca Khani, Brian D. Robinson, Rema A. Rao, Juan Miguel Mosquera, along with Jyothi Manohar, Noah Greco, and myself published “Incorporating cytologic adequacy assessment into precision oncology workflow using telepathology: An institutional experience,” in Cancer Cytopathology on April 30th.

Drs. Monica Guzman, Juan Miguel Mosquera, Andrea Sboner, Jenny Z. Xiang, David Rickman, Wayne Tam, former members Mark A. Rubin and Himisha Beltran, with Kenneth Eng, David C. Wilkes, Rohan Bareja, Jaclyn A. Croyle, Theresa (Tess) MacDonald, Zohal Noorzad, Danielle Pancirer, Shuhua Cheng, Koen Van Besien and I published “Targeting the Epichaperone as an Effective PrecisionMedicine Approach in a Novel PML-SYK Fusion Acute Myeloid Leukemia,” in NPJ Precision Oncology on May 26th.

Drs. Nasser K Altorki, Ashish Saxena, Manik Uppal, Karla V Ballman, Silvia C Formenti, with Bhavneet Binder and I published, “Neoadjuvant durvalumab with or without stereotactic body radiotherapy in patients with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer: a single-centre, randomised phase 2 trial,” in The Lancet Oncology on May 17th.

Drs. Lisa Newman and Melissa B. Davis, with WCM colleagues, published “Investigation of triple-negative breast cancer risk alleles in an International African-enriched cohort,” in Nature Scientific Reports on April 29th. Drs. Newman and Davis also collaborated on the review article “Cancer microenvironment and genomics: evolution in process,” in the Journal Clinical & Experimental Metastasis on May 10th.

Dr. Christopher Barbieri published the editorial “Understanding the True Prevalence of Prostate Cancer Genomic Subtypes: Use of Inverse Probability Weighting to Correct for Biases in Molecularly Profiled Cohorts,” in the Journal of Urology on June 1st.

Dr. Allyson Ocean published “Sacituzumab govitecan, a Trop-2-directed antibody-drug conjugate, for patients with epithelial cancer: final safety and efficacy results from the phase I/II IMMU-132-01 basket trial,” in Annals of Oncology on June 1st.

Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi and colleagues published, “Immunofluorescence microscopy-based assessment of cytosolic DNA accumulation in mammalian cells,” in STAR Protocol on June 18th. Dr. Lorenzo Galluzzi published “ATP and cancer immunosurveillance,” in The Embo Journal on June 14th. And Dr. Galluzzi also published “Immunological barriers to immunotherapy in primary and metastatic breast cancer,” in Embro Molecular Medicine on June 15th.

Clinical Director Dr. Cora N. Sternberg published published “Safety and Efficacy of Atezolizumab in Under Studied Populations with Pretreated Urinary Tract Carcinoma: Subgroup Analyses of the SAUL Study in Real-World Practice,” in the Journal of Urology April 9th. Dr. Sternberg published “TROPHY-U-01: A Phase II Open-Label Study of Sacituzumab Govitecan in Patients With Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma Progressing After Platinum-Based Chemotherapy and Checkpoint Inhibitors,” in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on April 30th. Dr. Sternberg published “Immune-inflammatory biomarkers as prognostic factors for immunotherapy in pretreated advanced urinary tract cancer patients: an analysis of the Italian SAUL cohort,” in ESMO Open on June 2021; Dr. Sternberg and colleagues co-authored “Plasma tumor gene conversions after one cycle abiraterone acetate for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer: a biomarker analysis of a multicenter international trial,” in Annals of Oncology in June 2021; Dr. Sternberg also published “SAUL, a single-arm study of atezolizumab for chemotherapy-pretreated locally advanced or metastatic carcinoma of the urinary tract: outcomes by key baseline factors, PD-L1 expression and prior platinum therapy,” in ESMO Open on June 1st.

Dr. Jan Krumsiek, along with Dr. Elisa Benedetti of the WCM Institute of Computational Biomedicine, and colleagues published “The Colorectal Cancer Lipidome: Identification of a Robust Tumor-Specific Lipid Species Signature,” in Gastroenterology on May 15th.

Dr. Pinkal Desai was first-author on a new paper, “Open-Label Phase II Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Study of Romyelocel-L Myeloid Progenitor Cells to Reduce Infection During Induction Chemotherapy for Acute Myeloid Leukemia,” in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, published on June 22nd.

Drs. Francesca Khani, Andrea Sboner, Scott Tagawa, David M. Nanus, Brian Robinson, David S. Rickman, with Michael Sigouros, Rohan Bareja, and myself published “Temporal evolution of cellular heterogeneity during the progression to advanced AR-negative prostate cancer,” in Nature Communications on June 7th.