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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


VICC toll-free number 1-877-936-8422

Program Leaders

Madan Jagasia, M.B.B.S.
Pierre P. Massion, M.D.
Jeffrey A. Sosman, M.D.

Translational Research and Interventional Oncology

The Translational Research and Interventional Oncology Research Program (TR) promotes, develops and exploits mechanism-based research for improved detection and therapy of human cancer. This program is dedicated to:

  • New discoveries in early detection and molecular oncology, including the creation of the Lung Nodule Clinic, a translational laboratory for early detection and Early Detection Research Network funded research which allows for increased collection and analysis of early lesions and indeterminate pulmonary nodules (IPNs) and provides a platform for interventional studies.
  • Genotype-driven early phase trials, including exceptional responders and mechanisms of resistance and immune mechanisms in cancer and cellular therapy.

Scientific Goals

  • To translate advances in our understanding of molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis and tumor progression into novel therapeutic strategies. With primary focus on lung cancer, melanoma, and lymphoma/leukemia, we will use the strength of in-depth molecular and phenotypic characterization of tumor heterogeneity to identify new targets and translate those into new therapeutic opportunities.
  • To further develop genetically directed early phase clinical trials in part through Center for Cancer Targeted Therapeutics (C2T2), Early Cancer Therapeutics Consortium (ECTC), National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) with Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice (MATCH). Selection of targets will be based on Next Generation Sequenced (NGS) tumors. Evaluation of response will be based on molecular imaging approaches and other biomarkers predictive not only of response but also toxicity and drug metabolism. Exceptional responders will be specifically identified through our large clinical trial based effort.
  • To understand mechanisms of resistance to genetically targeted therapy and develop novel strategies to prevent and overcome resistance.
  • To apply and enhance immune strategies in  cancer and cellular therapy. We will develop adoptive cell therapy through modifications of allogeneic stem cell transplantation or through transfer of chimeric-antigen-receptor (CAR) effector T cells. We will develop a better understanding of checkpoint inhibition (anti-CTLA-4, anti-PD1) to enable the definition of alternate biomarkers of efficacy, toxicity, and resistance.

Program Leaders

Madan Jagasia, M.B.B.S., M.S., is Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology) and Section Chief, Hematology and Stem Cell Transplant. He specializes in stem cell transplant for hematological malignancies (leukemia, lymphoma, Myeloma, MDS) and bone marrow disorders. He is a co-director of the Translational Research & Interventional Oncology Research Program at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. His research interest is graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), an immune complication after a donor stem cell transplant. He along with Dr. Kassim and dedicated nurse practitioners, follow patients after day 100 (from donor stem cell transplant) in the long term transplant clinic (LTTC). The good of this clinic is to provide state-of-the-art care to patients and co-ordinates then care with consultants and the primary referring oncologist. He has clinical trials for GVHD and is the principal investigator on developing a tissue bank for future studies related to GVHD. He also maintains an active interest in non transplant therapy for MCL, AML and MDS and has clinical trials in these diseases. He is a committee member of the GVHD subcommittee of CIBMTR.

Pierre P. Massion, M.D., is Ingram Professor of Cancer Research. He is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Professor of Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Dr. Massion has worked in the field of lung cancer biology, early detection and therapeutics for 16 years. He is a co-director of the Translational Research & Interventional Oncology Research Program at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. He has over 80 publications in the areas of lung cancer development, role of oncogenes in the progression of lung tumor cells and innovative strategies towards the development of molecular biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer and intermediate endpoint biomarkers of response to chemoprevention. He served as Chief of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine section at the Nashville VA Medical Center between 2007-2012. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine and in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He is the principal investigator of the Vanderbilt SPORE in lung cancer and of the Vanderbilt Clinical Validation Center sponsored by the EDRN to validate candidate biomarkers of lung cancer. He is also co-PI of two DoD grants, one of which offers lung cancer screening across 12 VA and military hospitals to validate candidate biomarkers of risk and of diagnosis for lung cancer. Dr. Massion has mentored over 19 postdoctoral fellows, 11 graduate students and 20 undergraduate students. He is committed to pursuing innovative strategies to deepen the understanding of lung cancer development and progression. His laboratory applies novel genomic and proteomic technologies to biological specimens to address questions related to the identification and validation of molecular determinants of disease diagnosis, progression, prognosis, and intermediate endpoint biomarkers of response to chemopreventive strategies. He is the PI of 6 active clinical studies - He is the Chair of the Lung Cancer Cooperative group in the EDRN and the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the largest non-profit lung cancer foundation, LUNGevity. He is a contributing member to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network related Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Guidelines committee.

Jeffrey A. Sosman, M.D., is a Professor of Medicine within the Division of Hematology/Oncology and Ingram Professor of Cancer Research. Dr. Sosman is a co-director of the Translational Research & Interventional Oncology Research Program at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Since his arrival at Vanderbilt in December 2001, he has taken on a number of responsibilities in addition to his leadership role in this program. Previously, these responsibilities included Medical Director of the VICC Clinical Trials Shared Resource. At present, he is Director of the Melanoma Group, and he works closely with the Phase I program in drug development in melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. He is a permanent member of the NIH/NCI study section for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy (CII) from 2006 - 2010. He is recognized nationally for his expertise in melanoma, clinical tumor immunology, and most recently targeted therapy for melanoma. He has been peer-review funded in the past for both immunotherapy trials and translational clinical trials in melanoma. Dr. Sosman recently was awarded a NCI K24 to support mentoring individuals in clinical investigations in melanoma. Most of his research has shifted focus from immunologic approaches in melanoma and renal cancer to clinical efforts utilizing inhibitors of tumor signaling pathways, surface growth factors, or vascular growth factors that target the cancer cell biology. As described above, he was an important force behind the development of the Translational Research Laboratory and is heavily involved in its activity. Dr. Sosman was recently named the Mary Hendrickson-Johnson American Cancer Society Melanoma Research Professor. He is the first honoree of this five-year award, which was awarded for his career achievements and new research initiatives in translational research in melanoma. He was also recently appointed as an Ingram Professor for Cancer Research. His translational activities are well matched to his role in ST, where his expertise in melanoma and clinical trials has been instrumental in facilitating trials led by other investigators in several other malignancies.

Program Members