Sarah Tasian Laboratory

Led by Sarah K. Tasian, MD, researchers in the Tasian Laboratory are focused on using molecular and genomic approaches to identify targeted cancer treatments and immunotherapies to treat children with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The long-term goal of the research conducted in this laboratory is to develop better therapies, improve cure rates and minimize toxicities for children with leukemia.

Ongoing studies in the Tasian Laboratory are studying perturbations in leukemic cell signal transduction networks to identify targeted cancer inhibitors that can treat children with high-risk leukemias, including ALL and AML. Current studies are evaluating the ability of JAK/STAT, PI3K/mTOR, and other kinase inhibitors to decrease leukemia in specialized models of childhood ALL and AML. Results from these preclinical studies have led directly to new clinical trials testing kinase inhibitors in children with leukemia.

Additional studies in the Tasian Laboratory are investigating new immunotherapies using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells as a treatment for children with relapsed and chemotherapy-resistant AML. Members of the Tasian Laboratory and their local and national collaborators are currently testing several CAR T cell approaches as potential new treatments for children and adults with AML. Results from these preclinical studies have already informed a phase 1 clinical trial testing CD123-redirected CAR T cells (CART123) in adults with relapsed/refractory AML. Other trials of CAR T cells specifically for children with relapsed/refractory AML are also in development.