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Translational and Clinical Oncology

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Program Leaders

Landgren, Ola, M.D., Ph.D.
Merchan, Jaime, M.D.


The Translational and Clinical Oncology Program (TCO) was established in July 2022 with the overarching goal of driving breakthrough research from laboratory discoveries to novel interventions with direct patient impact. TCO integrates investigators from across Sylvester’s Research Programs, conducting research that advances Sylvester’s mission and ability to serve its diverse and unique catchment area (CA).

TCO fosters collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange among investigators and projects spanning basic science to translational and clinical applications, leading to the identification of biomarkers, druggable targets, and novel therapies to improve cancer outcomes. It serves as a platform for meaningful interactions between scientists and physicians, working at the interface of basic and clinical research for the development of translational applications.

Program members have extensive expertise in studies using clinical, molecular, and computational oncology approaches for diagnostic, predictive and prognostic purposes, as well as the development of novel preclinical therapeutic strategies and investigator-initiated studies (IIS) using novel drugs and combinations of drugs for new indications. Sylvester fosters the program’s growth through strategic recruitments, by providing institutional infrastructure and state-of-the-art shared resources, and by offering competitive developmental and bridge funds. Sylvester also provides infrastructure for grant submission and financial oversight. These efforts are critical for TCO investigators to excel in collaborative science and facilitate translational research.

The TCO Program has the following two specific aims:

Aim 1: Identify and characterize novel targets, molecular signatures and biomarkers, which will improve clinical prediction, prognosis and support new drug development. Well-annotated biospecimen, as well as molecular and computational oncology approaches will be used to define tumor and circulating biomarkers associated with treatment response or resistance.

Aim 2: Discover and develop precision medicine-, epigenetic- and immunotherapy-based strategies to improve treatment outcomes, through dedicated early drug development efforts, preclinical studies in relevant cancer models and the initiation of investigator-initiated studies using novel drugs, and combinations of drugs for new indications (bench-to-bedside).

These aims function to complement those of the Tumor Biology, Cancer Epigenetics and Cancer Control Research Programs, facilitating the integration of basic and preclinical observations across all programs into interventions that directly benefit patients. TCO’s role as a catalyst in translating laboratory discoveries into innovative clinical approaches is in full alignment with Sylvester’s mission to reduce the cancer burden within its catchment area and beyond.

Program Members