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Research Reveals Why Some Tumors Have Different Makeup of Cells

Molecular changes in cells called fibroblasts, which help provide support for tissues throughout the body, may explain why one type of colon cancer doesn’t respond to therapy, according to a team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine. Targeting these cells may be a way to make treatment more effective.

Jorge Moscat, PhD
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

In a study published Nov. 17 in Developmental Cell the investigators examined cells called fibroblasts in CMS4, the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat form of colorectal cancer, to determine how these cancer-associated cells acquire traits that allow them to support malignancy in neighboring cells. CMS4 affects about a third of all colorectal cancer patients.    

“There are two important components to this study,” said co-senior author Dr. Jorge Moscat, Homer T. Hirst III Professor of Oncology in Pathology and Vice-Chair for Experimental Pathology. “First, we have shown in a mechanistic way how these cancer-associated fibroblasts acquire the characteristics that they have. Second, we confirmed that what we discovered in our lab models also applies to patients, which begins to suggest how these findings could be useful in the clinic.”

Tumors are made up not only of cancer cells, but many other kinds of cells as well. These other cell types can influence how a tumor behaves and can have a profound effect on whether it responds to therapy, including treatment with immunotherapy.

Dr. Massimo Loda Receives SBUR Meritorious Achievement Award

Massimo Loda, MD
David D. Thompson Professor & Chairman of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Congratulations to Dr. Massimo Loda for receiving the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR). 

Presented annually at the fall meeting, this award is to recognize a researcher (can be a clinician researcher) who has made significant contributions in the field of urological research. Accomplishments of note should include Publications, participation on distinguished panels, Advisory roles, overall contributions to the field of urology research.

Learning and Growing with In-House Testing: An Interview with Wei Song, BM, PhD

Keeping molecular testing in-house offers benefits for pathologists, oncologists, and patients

An interview with Wei Song, BM, PhD
Source: The Pathologist
Sponsored by: Thermo Fisher Scientific

Wei Song, BM, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

How – and why – does your institution conduct precision oncology testing?
Precision medicine is a newly evolving discipline and, to fully realize its potential, all adequately sized institutes should be able to provide in-house genomic profiling for tumors from both tissue and plasma samples. I always think as though I’m running a startup company, so my number one consideration is the customer – who are they and what do they need? Our customers are oncologists and they need genomic profiling tests to enable their patients to benefit from novel precision oncology treatments.

Also, I believe molecular diagnostics is the future of pathology. So while centralization plays an important role currently, if we don’t practice in-house testing, we won’t be able to develop alongside the science and provide the best possible standard of care. That’s why we do as much as possible in-house – to support our clinicians and patients and to keep learning and developing.

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