Pulmonary Oncology Research Team | NYU Langone Health

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Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine Research Pulmonary Oncology Research Team

Pulmonary Oncology Research Team

The Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine’s Pulmonary Oncology Research Team, known as NYU Langone PORT, focuses on clinical and translational research on lung cancer, mesothelioma, metastatic pleural disease, and other malignancies of the thorax. Another research priority is the early detection of lung cancer.

Under the leadership of Daniel H. Sterman, MD, principal investigator, NYU Langone PORT works closely with interventional pulmonologists in our division. We are also an integral part of the rapidly expanding thoracic oncology program at Perlmutter Cancer Center.

Advanced Diagnostic and Therapeutic Interventional Techniques

The central focus of NYU Langone PORT is the synergy between advanced diagnostic and therapeutic interventional techniques in pulmonary medicine, and the development of novel therapeutic agents, including immunotherapies, for thoracic malignancies.

Research interests include gene therapy and vaccine therapy for lung cancer and pleural malignancies such as mesothelioma. Another area of interest is the molecular characterization of the immunophenotype of tumor-involved lymph nodes in patients with thoracic malignancies as a potential prognostic and predictive biomarker and as a putative target for directed immunomodulation.

NYU Langone PORT has a number of current research projects:

  • immunophenotyping and digital special profiling of tumor-draining lymph nodes in patients with lung cancer or mesothelioma
  • intratumoral and intranodal immunotherapy for thoracic malignancies
  • cryoablation of advanced lung cancer for induction of antitumor immune responses
  • genetic immunotherapy for malignant mesothelioma and other pleural malignancies
  • gene-modified cytotoxic immunotherapy for lung cancer and mesothelioma
  • novel bronchoscopic treatments for peripheral lung cancer
  • pleural disease pathway and health system quality assurance impact
  • evaluation of the association between the lung microbiome and lung carcinogenesis and response to immunotherapy
  • lung cancer early detection

Recent Publications

DeMaio A, Sterman D. Bronchoscopic intratumoural therapies for non-small cell lung cancer. Eur Respir Rev. 2020 Jun 16;29(156):200028. doi: 10.1183/16000617.0028-2020. PMID: 32554757.

Murthy V, Katzman D, Sterman DH. Intrapleural immunotherapy: An update on emerging treatment strategies for pleural malignancy. Clin Respir J. 2019 May;13(5):272-279. doi: 10.1111/crj.13010. Epub 2019 Mar 24. PMID: 30810270.

Murthy V, Katzman DP, Tsay JJ, Bessich JL, Michaud GC, Rafeq S, Minehart J, Mangalick K, de Lafaille MAC, Goparaju C, Pass H, Sterman DH. Tumor-draining lymph nodes demonstrate a suppressive immunophenotype in patients with non-small cell lung cancer assessed by endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration: A pilot study. Lung Cancer. 2019 Nov;137:94-99.

Tsay JJ, Wu BG, Sulaiman I, Gershner K, Schluger R, Li Y, Yie TA, Meyn P, Olsen E, Perez L, Franca B, Carpenito J, Iizumi T, El-Ashmawy M, Badri M, Morton JT, Shen N, He L, Michaud G, Rafeq S, Bessich JL, Smith RL, Sauthoff H, Felner K, Pillai R, Zavitsanou AM, Koralov SB, Mezzano V, Loomis CA, Moreira AL, Moore W, Tsirigos A, Heguy A, Rom WN, Sterman DH, Pass HI, Clemente JC, Li H, Bonneau R, Wong KK, Papagiannakopoulos T, Segal LN. Lower Airway Dysbiosis Affects Lung Cancer Progression. Cancer Discov. 2021 Feb;11(2):293-307.

Cantini L, Laniado I, Murthy V, Sterman D, Aerts JGJV. Immunotherapy for mesothelioma: Moving beyond single immune check point inhibition. Lung Cancer. 2022 Jan 25;165:91-101.

Wang A, Chang SH, Kim EJ, Bessich JL, Sabari JK, Cooper B, Geraci TC, Cerfolio RJ. Dynamic Management of Lung Cancer Care During Surging COVID-19. Front Surg. 2021 Apr 7;8:663364.

Thiboutot J, Argento AC, Akulian J, Lee HJ, DeMaio A, Kapp CM, Wahidi MM, Yarmus L. Accuracy of Pulmonary Nodule Sampling Using Robotic Assisted Bronchoscopy with Shape Sensing, Fluoroscopy, and Radial Endobronchial Ultrasound (The ACCURACY Study). Respiration. 2022;101(5):485-493.

Lung Cancer Early Detection

At NYU Langone PORT, principal investigator Jun-Chieh J. Tsay, MD, identifies and validates biomarkers for the early detection of lung cancer. Dr. Tsay and colleagues assess biospecimens and clinical data collected from a cohort of nearly 1,600 subjects who are at high risk for lung cancer and who have undergone repeated lung cancer screening.

Researchers also evaluate data from patients with possible or confirmed lung cancer. Biospecimens obtained include blood, sputum, airway epithelial cells, and exhaled breath condensate. Collaborators from around the country help perform analysis of biomarkers such as messenger RNA, microRNA, autoantibodies, and proteins.

A major focus of Dr. Tsay’s laboratory studies is the lung “field of cancerization.” Researchers evaluate tissues with normal histology adjacent to the tumor, looking for abnormal molecular expression patterns similar to those of the tumor itself. They then evaluate cancer-specific molecular expression in airway epithelial cells to identify premalignant changes in radiographically and cytologically normal respiratory epithelium. The project goal is to develop a biomarker test for the early diagnosis of lung cancer.

In collaboration with Leopoldo N. Segal, MD, Dr. Tsay is also investigating the relationship between lung cancer and the human lung microbiome. Researchers hope to identify a characteristic microbiome and transcriptome signature that identifies patients at risk for developing lung cancer.

Registry, Funding, and Contact Information

Current clinical trials in this area of research include the following:

Recent Publications

Tsay J-CJ … Segal LN. Airway microbiota is associated with up-regulation of the PI3K pathway in lung cancer. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018. DOI.

Dai L … Zhang J. Autoantibodies against tumor-associated antigens in the early detection of lung cancer. Lung Cancer. 2016. DOI.

Segal LN …Weiden MD. Enrichment of the lung microbiome with oral taxa is associated with lung inflammation of a Th17 phenotype. Nat Microbiol. 2016. DOI.

Tsay J-CJ … Rom WN. Molecular characterization of the peripheral airway field of cancerization in lung adenocarcinoma. PLoS One. 2015. DOI.