The Thoracic and Gastrointestinal (GI) Malignancies Branch: 1) conducts innovative laboratory research that is focused on a better understanding of the biology of thoracic and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers; 2) directs pre-clinical studies to identify and validate novel targets for these cancers; 3) conducts clinical trials of new therapies to treat patients with thoracic and GI cancers who have failed standard treatments; 4) provides medical oncology care for patients with thoracic and GI malignancies; and 5) trains medical oncology fellows and postdoctoral researchers.
As part of our multidisciplinary approach to patient care, we provide a number of natural history and treatment protocols for thoracic and gastrointestinal cancers. For instance, we offer molecular analysis of tumors, targeted drug therapies and innovative surgical procedures. Patients are provided guidance and assistance with appointments, travel, counseling and social support. We believe it is important to collaborate with our patients’ primary care physicians in order to provide expert continuity of care. Before visiting, patients may be asked to provide medical records, disks with scans or x-ray studies, and a list of medications. Important facts for our patients:
- Consultations are provided at no cost to the patient
- After a patient is accepted onto a study, treatments and tests performed at NIH are also no cost to the patient
- NIH does not cover the cost of medical services provided at other facilities
- We are located in Bethesda, Maryland, approximately 8 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.
- Our clinics are located in the NIH Clinical Center (Building 10)
- Visitor information is available at NIH Clinical Center
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Questions? Visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You.
Raffit Hassan, M.D., Chief
Our oncology nurses, nurse practitioners and patient care coordinators can help you understand the rationale behind our clinical trials. Their knowledge and expertise helps guide patients and their families through our clinical protocols and provides reassurance by carefully explaining treatment plans. When surgery is indicated, state-of-the-art procedures are explained by surgeons with expertise in the field of oncology. Skilled physicians and allied professionals in genetics, nutrition, pharmacology, nuclear imaging, interventional radiology and gastroenterology are all part of the multi-disciplinary management of our patients.
Research Interests of TGMB Members
Dr. Raffit Hassan is a medical oncologist who heads the medical thoracic oncology program. His laboratory and clinical work is focused on targeting the tumor differentiation antigen mesothelin for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma and other solid tumors.
Dr. Tim Greten is a medical oncologist whose research efforts focus on restoring anti-tumor immunity by elimination of immune suppressor functions of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, as well as activation of existing tumor-specific T cell responses in the tumor microenvironment of liver tumors and other GI cancers.
Dr. Arun Rajan is a medical oncologist whose research interests focus on developing new therapies for thoracic malignancies, especially thymic cancers; he is currently evaluating the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) inhibitor, cixutumumab and the multikinase inhibitor sunitinib in thymomas and thymic cancers.
Dr. Udayan Guha is a medical oncologist who is utilizing proteo-genomic approaches to evaluate signaling pathways altered during pulmonary carcinogenesis, with a focus on mutant epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-driven lung adenocarcinoma.
Dr. Porat-Shliom is a cell biologist with an aim to understand how normal and malignant cells metabolically adapt to changes in their environment. She utilizes cutting-edge light microscopy approaches including Intravital Microscopy in combination with mouse genetics.
Dr. Vassiliki Saloura is investigating the role of histone and non-histone protein methylation in tumor growth, therapy resistance and immunogenicity in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
Dr. Chen Zhao is a physician-scientist focusing on tumor immunology and immunotherapy in lung cancer and thymic malignancies.