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    Melanoma research by CPMC’s Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, MD

    April 11, 2016

    A study by Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, MD, California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI) Senior Scientist, Medical Director of CPMC’s Cancer Programs, and Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation physician, was one of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI)’s top fifty highest-cited articles published in 2013.

    In the 2013 study, Dr. Kashani-Sabet and colleagues identified a new role for a gene associated with the development of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. “The Role of miR-18b in MDM2-p53 Pathway Signaling and Melanoma Progression” study was the first to characterize the function of the microRNA-18b gene (also referred to as miR-18b) in controlling cancer cell growth, using melanoma as a model. The findings opened new avenues for drug development and identified novel approaches to distinguish benign versus malignant melanomas.

    “Our study showed that expressing miR-18b in melanoma cells suppresses tumor cell growth, and that measuring miR-18b levels may help predict the risk of death due to the cancer,” said Dr. Kashani-Sabet.

    Dr. Kashani-Sabet is an internationally recognized dermato-oncologist who treats patients with cutaneous malignancies, specifically melanoma and cutaneous lymphoma. His research focuses on the development of novel biomarkers for melanoma and the identification of novel targets for cancer therapy. CPMC’s Center for Melanoma Research and Treatment, headed by Dr. Kashani-Sabet, integrates his CPMCRI research to develop effective combination therapies for aggressive melanomas.

    “Through his dedication to research and clinical practice, Dr. Kashani-Sabet embodies the commitment of CPMC to transform healthcare,” said CPMC CEO, Warren Browner, MD, MPH. “Patients throughout California and beyond have benefited from his skills and accomplishments as a physician and scientist.”

    For example, research and patient care initiatives at CPMC’s Center for Melanoma Research and Treatment have yielded five-year survival rates for metastatic melanoma that are higher than the national average. As part of this work, the Center accrued a large number of patients to clinical trials leading to the FDA approval of game-changing cancer drugs such as nivolumab, a PD-1 inhibitor. In addition to the 2013 paper in JNCI, other recent studies by Dr. Kashani-Sabet have been published in high-impact journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Dr. Kashani-Sabet’s research on signaling pathways that underlie cancer progression is helping create new approaches to the treatment of aggressive solid tumors (including breast cancer, glioblastoma, and lung cancer), either alone or in combination with targeted therapies.

    “Our goal is to continue developing CPMC’s Cancer Programs and provide a comprehensive array of cancer services that include a robust portfolio of clinical trials, and efforts aimed at precision medicine,” said Dr. Kashani-Sabet.