Danielle M. Pastor, D.O., Ph.D.
- Center for Cancer Research
- National Cancer Institute
- Building 10, Room 8B18
- Bethesda, MD 20892
Dr. Pastor is dedicated to identifying and developing immunotherapy-based treatment regimens for individuals with cancer through early-phase clinical studies, including first-in-human trials. Her work as an Assistant Research Physician in the Center for Immuno-Oncology (CIO) Clinical Trials Group focuses on gastrointestinal malignancies, particularly colon and rectal cancer. She has special interest in hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes, as well as in the processes contributing to carcinogenesis in early-onset colorectal cancer and patient populations known to be at higher risk for the development of intestinal cancer.
Dr. Pastor works closely with CIO scientists and other NCI investigators with the goal of improving patient response rates, overall outcomes, and quality of life through the utilization of combinations of novel immune-stimulating agents, “standard” chemotherapy, and targeted agents.
Areas of Expertise
1) immunotherapy 2) therapeutic cancer vaccines 3) solid tumors 4) gastrointestinal malignancies 5) colon and rectal cancer 6) hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes
Information for Patients
Learn more about our clinical trials and the highly specialized care teams that lead them.
Dr. Pastor’s clinical research focuses on understanding how the complex interplay between inflammation, immunity, and carcinogenesis influences the development and behavior of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. She is particularly interested in how to identify and modulate factors that contribute to tumors' resistance to immune-based therapies. She is involved in clinical trials that use tumor-targeted vaccines, immunocytokines, and immune checkpoint inhibitors, including a unique bifunctional monoclonal antibody capable of mediating antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity of carcinoma cells.
Closely working with scientists in the LTIB, who possess expertise in cellular and molecular immunology, immunoregulation, immunomodulation, and immunotherapeutics, she studies the effects of novel combinations of these agents, both in combination with and without “standard” cytotoxic therapies, on solid tumors with the objective of enhancing responsivity in immunologically “cold” tumors, such as those exhibiting microsatellite stability.
Fast Clearance of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus in a Patient Undergoing Vaccine Immunotherapy for Metastatic Chordoma: A Case Report
Sleep Dysfunction in Gastrointestinal Malignancy. In: Sleep Effect on Gastrointestinal Health & Disease: Translational Opportunities for Promoting Health and Optimizing Disease Management
Tumor necrosis factor alpha induces p53 up-regulated modulator of apoptosis expression in colorectal cancer cell lines
Danielle M. Pastor, D.O., Ph.D.
Dr. Pastor completed her medical studies with honors at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and began her graduate medical training as a general surgery resident physician at the Penn State University Milton S. Hershey Medical Center & College of Medicine in 2004. During her time at Penn State, she also earned her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology while studying the relationship between inflammation and colorectal carcinogenesis. Following completion of her chief surgical resident year in 2013, she received additional subspecialty training in colon and rectal surgery at the University of Minnesota, subsequent to which she joined the faculty at the Samuel S. Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albany, NY, with an academic appointment of Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Albany Medical Center & College of Medicine.
Dr. Pastor’s continued and deep interest in gastrointestinal oncology and its multi-disciplinary management motivated her to seek additional training in medical oncology; thus, she completed a residency in internal medicine at the Albany Medical Center & College of Medicine, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. She joined the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology as a staff clinician and Assistant Research Physician in 2021.
Dr. Pastor is the recipient of multiple honors and awards, including the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award, the Penn State Mary Louise Witmer Jones Resident Humanitarian Award, and the Penn State Department of Surgery Professionalism & Humanism Award, as well as several distinctions for presented research. She has been the recipient of several mentored grants and is a member of multiple academic honor and professional medical societies, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer.