Stuart A. Aaronson, MD
Jack and Jane B. Aron Professor
2012-2013 BCRF Project:
(made possible by generous support from Delta Air Lines)
Founding Chair Emeritus
Department of Oncological Sciences
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
New York, New York
Dr. Aaronson continues his work on the Wnt autocrine signaling pathway with the aim of developing novel therapies and identifying new markers that can help determine disease prognosis and progression at the onset of breast cancer. In earlier studies, Dr. Aaronson and his team observed a change in triple negative breast tumors caused by Wnt autocrine, which could lead to the development of a new drug for the disease that presently lacks biologically targeted therapies. More recently, they established a human inflammatory breast cancer line, whose characterization could provide insights into specific therapies for this aggressive breast malignancy.
Dr. Aaronson's team has also identified irregular cellular activities that occur in the erbB2 gene in HER2 positive (HER2+) tumors. These findings provide better understanding of how this gene becomes overexpressed in breast cancers and identify possible new therapeutic targets in HER2+ breast cancers.
In2012-13, Dr. Aaronson and colleagues will continue work on Wnt autocrine activation and the erbB2 gene. They will explore changing Wnt activity and the inhibition of the spread (or metastasis) of breast cancer cells to the bone. The team are also researching inflammatory breast cancer, another especially aggressive breast cancer type, specifically on gene discovery.
Mid-year Progress: Dr. Aaronson's team continues to work on breast cancer biomarkers and a Wnt autocrine transforming mechanism with a focus on triple negative human breast tumors to develop novel therapies for these tumors. They recently established a human inflammatory breast cancer line, whose characterization could provide insights into specific therapies for this aggressive breast malignancy. Their research aims to provide better understanding of how this gene becomes over-expressed in breast cancers and identify possible new therapeutic targets in erbB2 positive breast cancers.
Dr. Stuart Aaronson is an internationally recognized physician scientist, who has made pioneering discoveries into the molecular basis of human cancer. His discoveries include the first insights into the normal functions of cancer genes, and the identification of some of the first human cancer causing genes. One of his discoveries was the gene for a novel growth factor receptor, which he showed was activated as a cancer gene by amplification and/or overexpression in human breast and ovarian cancers. This discovery has led to the first approved drug directed against a cancer gene target. Dr. Aaronson's discoveries of growth factors have led to recent FDA approval of a drug derived from KGF, one of these discoveries. This drug is for treatment of oral mucositis, one of the most debilitating side effects of a number of radio/chemotherapies.
Dr. Aaronson completed his medical training at the University of California in San Francisco in 1969. Following an internship in medicine, he began his scientific career at the National Institutes of Health where he served in the Public Health Service for 25 years. He was Chief of the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology at National Cancer Institute (NCI) from 1977-1993. During his tenure at the NCI, he established himself as a world authority in cancer biology and growth factor signaling, training and mentoring dozens of scientists, many of whom have gone on to major positions in academia and industry.
In 1993, Dr. Aaronson joined the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, as Aron Professor and Chairman of the Department of Oncological Sciences (formerly designated Ruttenberg Cancer Center). As Mount Sinai's leader of its cancer program, Dr. Aaronson has developed this major academic department with more than 80 primary and joint faculty.
For his research, Dr. Aaronson is the recipient of major honors including the Paul Ehrlich, Milken, and Chirone Prizes, the Rhoads Memorial Award as well as PHS Meritorious and Distinguished Service Medals. His discoveries have resulted in more than then 500 scientific articles and 50 patents awarded or pending. He has served on the editorial boards of every major journal in the field of cancer and has organized many international meetings including the Princess Takamatsu Symposium. He has also, served on the advisory boards of a number of cancer centers, the American Red Cross, Society of Experimental Biology and Medicine and as President of the Harvey Society.