Mission and Scope

Levine Lab with Vice President Biden.

Levine Lab with Vice President Biden.

There are seven major goals of the center:

Establishing the first clonal hematopoiesis (CH) clinic

Given the high rate of CH in patients with solid tumors receiving oncologic therapy, we established the first CH clinic. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the natural history of CH, broadly determine the impact of CH across cancer types, and perform therapeutic interventions to prevent development of CH or its transformation to overt malignancy. Additional information regarding the CH clinic can be found here.

Integrating laboratory and clinical research across hematologic malignancies at MSK

CHM has established a biweekly “Science-in-Focus” seminar series focused on the entire spectrum of hematologic malignancies. This series consists of trainee presentations complemented by monthly outside speakers. In addition, CHM has hosted two biannual Heme Malignancy-wide retreats to date. These have been highly successful with more than 200 MSK clinical and laboratory investigators intermingling at each event.

Translational research infrastructure

CHM employs a team of project managers and coordinators who help facilitate translational research for both clinical and laboratory investigators. The center assists with IRB submissions to create and amend biospecimen and retrospective research protocols and facilitates agreement submissions with the MSK legal team for multicenter projects and collaborations with industry partners.

The Hematologic Oncology Tissue Bank (HOTB) is a centralized, comprehensive resource for banking human biological specimens to support research using primary human cells and tissue. It has become an invaluable resource with a large, annotated bank of primary samples from patients with CH and hematologic malignancies. The optimal use of primary patient samples, the sampling of patients at key clinical timepoints, and the integration of genomic data with clinical and therapeutic response data are critical needs for a robust translational research program. The translational research team also facilitates and assists with specimen queries and annotation of samples to optimize the use of human biological specimens for research. Equally important, CHM serves as a link between specific research projects, HOTB, and the labs, such as for projects that require patient specimens at specific clinical timepoints.

Computational analysis

We provide disease-specific computational support for hematologic malignancy investigators, including database management of sequencing data, integration, annotation, and discovery efforts. These efforts complement the larger computational programs in the Center for Molecular Oncology (CMO), the Center for Epigenetic Research, and in CBio, and will allow hematologic malignancy investigators to maximize their ability to integrate genomics into laboratory and clinical studies. CHM supports Dr. Papaemmanouil’s effort to generate an end-to-end database system, ISABL, of sample, project, and genome sequencing data for patients with hematologic malignancies at MSK. The Papaemmanouil group also provides disease-specific computational support and focuses on innovative method and algorithm development for analyzing genomic alterations in hematologic malignancy samples.

Collaborative grants and pilot project support

CHM employs a full-time PhD scientific research manager to support research grants for clinical and laboratory investigators at MSK focused on hematologic malignancies. To date, more than 10 grants have been submitted with CHM support including the BMT P01, ECOG UG1 Integrated Correlative Sciences Grant (MSK Lead Site), and numerous fellowship/career development awards. The scientific research manager serves as a resource for trainees and young investigators who are early in their grant-writing careers.

Supporting early drug development across hematologic malignancies

Recognizing the need for a dedicated phase I clinical trial effort in the Leukemia Service at MSK, Eytan Stein established the Program for Drug Development in Leukemia (PDD-L) as a partnership with CHM. We envision CHM driving new scientific discoveries by helping lead preclinical studies including correlatives for trials opened within the PDD-L. There will be a quarterly meeting where hematologic malignancy trialists across each heme subspecialty and scientists in CHM meet to discuss plans for upcoming trials and initiatives as well as ongoing studies to pair translational science and drive new understanding within hematologic malignancies.

Technology development to support hematologic malignancy research at MSK

In addition to providing administrative and financial support for hematologic malignancy research at MSK, we envision CHM also promoting the development of novel research technology for multiple efforts relevant to hematologic malignancy research at MSK. In addition, CHM supports internal collaborations with Computational Oncology, the Center for Molecular Oncology (CMO), and the Integrated Genomics Operation (IGO) to innovate new assays aimed specifically at primary patient materials from liquid tumor patients.