Dickran G. Kazandjian, M.D.

Dickran G. Kazandjian, M.D.
FDA-NCI/CCR Investigator
Attending Physician, Myeloma Program
Medical Oncology Service, Office of the Clinical Director

Dr. Kazandjian is a hematologic oncologist and clinician-scientist whose clinical research focuses on multiple myeloma and its precursor plasma cell dyscrasias (monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS) and smoldering myeloma). Dr. Kazandjian has a particularly strong interest in identifying high risk smoldering myeloma patients who may benefit from early treatment strategies and the development of early-interventional clinical trials targeting this important patient population. In addition, his translational research interests lie in the development of modern and novel laboratory techniques including next generation sequencing (NGS) to advance monitoring of minimal residual disease (MRD) and the immune cell repertoire during treatment.

Areas of Expertise
1) plasma cell disorders (multiple myeloma, smoldering (asymptomatic) myeloma, MGUS) 2) minimal residual disease (MRD) in myeloma 3) immune checkpoint inhibitors 4) regulatory clinical trial design and endpoints for approval 5) oncology drug development 6) immunotherapy

Contact Info

Dickran G. Kazandjian, M.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 10, Room 10C101A
Bethesda, MD 20892-1750
Ph: 301-480-0532
kazandjiandg@mail.nih.gov

Dr. Kazandjian’s clinical and translational research interests lie in the treatment of precursor plasma cell disorders including high risk smoldering multiple myeloma and the role of immunotherapy in plasma cell dyscrasias. In addition, he is re-evaluating the role of autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) in the era of highly efficacious novel-novel drugs, immunotherapy biologics, and cell-based therapies with the hypothesis that certain subsets of patients with myeloma may not benefit by default upfront ASCT. Multiple myeloma is a very heterogeneous disease; however, currently virtually all myeloma is treated in the same fashion unlike other post-germinal B cell malignancies. Our interests lie in understanding the extremes of patient natural histories and clinical responses to modern highly active state-of-the-art therapies. Specifically, a subset of our patients who did not receive upfront ASCT post induction have remained in durable MRD negative complete response off of maintenance therapy. On the other hand, a few patients may attain suboptimal response to induction therapy and have poor outcomes post ASCT.  Our translational laboratory investigations aim to identify key differences in these patient subsets to include not only identifying somatic aberrations but also variations in the immune system/response and micro-environment. Most recently, he has been instrumental in the development of a collaboration between the NCI-CCR, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Johns Hopkins University to develop an NGS lab at the FDA to help support clinical trial translational and regulatory research. 

Dr. Kazandjian is also interested in understanding the molecular biologic underpinnings of the racial differences in incidence, age of onset, and clinical outcomes that exist in multiple myeloma. He was awarded an intramural FDA funding grant to characterize molecularly the racial disparity observed in myeloma, which he is conducting in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  His regulatory interests include clinical trial designs of immunotherapies and the utilization of multi-arm target-based “master protocols.”  He has been invited to present data on pseudo-progression with the use of checkpoint inhibitors at renowned international oncology annual meetings.

Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Clinical Research, Health Disparities, Immunology

Selected Key Publications

  1. Kazandjian D, Landgren O.
    Seminars in Oncology. 43(6): 682-689, 2016. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Kazandjian D, Mailankody S, Korde N, Landgren O.
    Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology. 12(9): 578-87, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Korde N, Roschewski M, Zingone A, Kwok M, Manasanch EE, Bhutani M, Tageja N, Kazandjian D, Mailankody S, Wu P, Morrison C, Costello R, Zhang Y, Burton D, Mulquin M, Zuchlinski D, Lamping L, Carpenter A, Wall Y, Carter G, Cunningham SC, Gounden V, Sissung TM, Peer C, Maric I, Calvo KR, Braylan R, Yuan C, Stetler-Stevenson M, Arthur DC, Kong KA, Weng L, Faham M, Lindenberg L, Kurdziel K, Choyke P, Steinberg SM, Figg W, Landgren O.
    JAMA Oncology. 1(6): 746-754, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Kazandjian D, Keegan P, Suzman DL, Pazdur R, Blumenthal GM.
    Seminars in Oncology. 44(1): 3-7, 2017. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Epinat JC, Kazandjian D, Harkness DD, Petros S, Dave J, White DW, Gilmore TD.
    Oncogene. 19(5): 599-607, 2000. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Kazandjian received his undergraduate B.A. degree in biology with distinction from Boston University (Summa cum laude) where his research interest was in viral oncogenesis.  He remained at Boston University to receive his medical doctorate.  He was then commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force medical corps and completed an internal medicine residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center.  After residency, Dr. Kazandjian remained on faculty as an active duty physician, attending internist, assistant professor, and conducted HIV-malignancy research to elucidate the role normal human genetic variation plays on HIV pathogenesis.  After six years of active duty including a stent in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as an intensivist, he continued his training at the NIH as a civilian and completed fellowships in medical oncology (NCI) and hematology (NHLBI).  His laboratory-based research involved understanding the role that long intergenic non-coding RNAs play in cancer.  This was augmented by his clinical interest and patient care activities in multiple myeloma at the NCI under the mentorship of Dr. Ola Landgren.  In the years following fellowship, he continued gaining oncology and clinical trial experience with the NCI multiple myeloma section.

He subsequently joined the FDA Office of Hematology and Oncology Products.  He has represented the FDA at several meetings on topics including the accelerated approval of oncology drugs, breakthrough designation, and biomarkers.  His clinical interest remains in multiple myeloma where he continues to be clinically active, treating patients and teaching fellows, residents, and students and holds a dual appointment as an FDA-NCI Clinical Investigator. He is a principal investigator and leads the myeloma program under the NCI Lymphoid Malignancies Section. He has presented his research at prestigious conferences including the American Society of Hematology and American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meetings.  Lastly, Dr. Kazandjian has been involved in a multitude of health care missions to Armenia focusing on improvement of medical oncology, education, and arranging for allogeneic stem cell transplantation outside of Armenia.

Name Position
Jennifer Hsu Albert BSN, RN, OCN, BMTCN Research Nurse Specialist
Maureen E. Edgerly RN Senior Research Assistant