2019 marked a pivotal year for the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC). Our members have made major strides in translating innovative research happening in our labs into compassionate, cutting-edge clinical care.

Here’s just a selection of some of the news, milestones, and discoveries that were made by our cancer researchers and physicians. We look forward to 2020 as our members continue to work towards our vision that our discoveries here can end cancer everywhere. 

Kevin Kalinsky, MD, MS (Photo credit: Jeffrey Schifman)

New “Smart Drug” Shows Promise for Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

A new “smart drug” has shown promise for women with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, based on data from a clinical trial at the HICCC and other centers. Hear from Kevin Kalinsky, MD, MS, about how this drug could be practice-changing.



Taking the Lead on the Future of Cancer: Q+A with Dr. Anil Rustgi

Dr. Anil Rustgi, a leading cancer researcher and physician, officially began his post as as the new director of the HICCC this spring after a more than 20-year career on faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. We sat down with Dr. Rustgi to learn more about what he sees as the future of cancer research and care at the HICCC.


Honoring Promising Young Investigators in Clinical Cancer Research

Promising junior investigators shared the spotlight at this year's ASCO annual meeting and were honored with the Conquer Cancer Foundation's Young Investigator Award (YIA), including six physician-researchers from the HICCC.



Clinical Trial Uses Novel Drug Designed to Boost Immunotherapy

Dr. Charles Drake is dedicated to translating discoveries made in his lab into clinical trials that deliver the newest treatments to cancer patients who need them. When research from his lab honed in on the effects of blocking IL-8, a protein that stops the immune system from recognizing and attacking cancer, he wrote a clinical trial called MAGIC-8, a novel combination therapy of an immune checkpoint inhibitor and a new drug designed to block IL-8. Read more about this new clinical trial for prostate cancer.


Columbia Cancer Researchers Receive Seed Funding from Velocity

Six Columbia cancer researchers will share $500,000 in seed funding to support their innovative early-stage research projects. The new grants were made possible by proceeds raised last fall in Velocity, Columbia’s Ride to End Cancer. Read more about the inaugural class of fellows, and their creative approaches to solving cancer.


The Focus is Community for this Velocity Team

The more, the merrier for one cycling team whose focus on community is bringing people of all ages together to end cancer. Tour de MORE is a team of faculty, staff, and community partners, including local high-schoolers, who are raising money and riding miles for cancer research. 




Lisa Kachnic, MD (Vanderbilt University)

The Future of Radiation Oncology: Q+A with Lisa Kachnic, MD

 Lisa Kachnic, MD, is the new chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and leader of network strategy at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. Throughout her longstanding career in radiation oncology, Dr. Kachnic has remained on the forefront, fueling advancements in the field, including working on new techniques to deliver tailored, highly-customized radiation therapy to cancer patients. 



Sreyan Chowdhury (left), Tal Danino (center), and Nicholas Arpaia in the lab. Credit: Jane Nisselson/Columbia Engineering

An Unlikely Match: Bacteria + Immunotherapy

When it comes to having a successful research collaboration, human chemistry plays an equally important role as the science itself. HICCC members Nicholas Arpaia and Tal Danino are part of a dream team of researchers brought together by their co-mentee, Sreyan Chowdhury. 




New Study Illuminates Key Building Blocks of Pancreatic Cancer

A team of researchers at HICCC have uncovered important components of pancreatic cancer cell metabolism, hoping to identify therapeutic options to stop its growth. Read more about new research from the lab of Christine Chio, PhD.



Couples Cancer Therapy: Fighting Together

Linda Leiby was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2018. In addition to her dedicated team at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, she has an even more important team member - her husband. Ken Leiby was diagnosed with prostate cancer 18 years ago. Ken and Linda Leiby are in this fight together. Read their story. 



A New Approach for Prostate Cancer

At the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia researchers and physicians are using precision medicine to help veterans battle prostate cancer.  



Addressing Cancer Disparities in Northern Manhattan

The risk of dying from breast, colon, liver, and prostate cancer is much greater for people who live in Washington Heights than for those living in other parts of New York City, New York state, and the United States. Researchers and physicians at the HICCC—situated in the heart of this community—have been working to address this disparity.