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Yale-NY Regional Head & Neck Translational Research Symposium

April 16, 2024

A diverse group of head and neck cancer investigators gathered last week on Yale University’s West Campus to discuss recent advances in research in a variety of topics, including novel targets, immunology, and racial disparities.

The April 12 symposium include researchers from institutions in the New York region including New York University, Einstein/Montefiore, Columbia University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), the University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University.

Hosted by Curtis R. Pickering, PhD and the Yale Head & Neck SPORE (the National Cancer Institute’s Specialized Programs of Research Excellence), the symposium included a keynote panel of Barbara Burtness, MD (Yale), Nancy Lee, MD (MSKCC), and Devraj Basu, MD, PhD (UPENN).

SPORE grants are a cornerstone of NCI’s efforts to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary translational cancer research. SPORE grants involve both basic and clinical/applied scientists, and support projects that will result in new and diverse approaches to the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of human cancers.

The afternoon symposium was the first of what many attendees said they hoped would become an annual event among collaborators from neighboring institutions. In addition to the keynote panel, the speakers included Marcus Schober, PhD; Flora Momen-Heravi DDS, MPH, PhD, MS; Luc Morris, MD, MSc, FACS; Ahmed Diab, PhD; Pedro Torres-Ayuso, PhD; TJ Ow, MD, MS; and Jeffrey Liu, MD.

Yale’s Head & Neck SPORE includes a five-year, $11.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). SPOREs bring together experts in oncology, immunobiology, pharmacology, molecular biology, pathology, epidemiology, and addiction science to collaborate on projects. The goal of the Yale Head and Neck Cancer SPORE (YHN-SPORE) is to address critical barriers to treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) due to resistance to immune, DNA damaging, and targeted therapy.

PHOTO CAPTION: Symposium participants include Yale members Saral Mehra, MD, MBA, FACS (back row, far left); Sara Pai, MD. PhD (second row, left, wearing scraf); Curtis Pickering, PhD (second row, left, blue blazer and shirt); Barbara Burtness, MD (front row, left in front of podium); and Benjamin Judson, MD, MBA (front row, far right).

Submitted by Naedine Hazell on April 15, 2024