Live Conversation with Experts: Personalizing Cancer Care


June 4, 2020
2:30 PM


Virtual Discussion
via Zoom

Each patient experiences cancer differently, and standard treatment regimens are not effective for everyone. This is because the genetics and behavior of each tumor is unique, and tailoring treatment strategies to account for these individualities is imperative for improving patient outcomes.

Recent breakthroughs that leverage the power of stem cells allow scientists to create patient-specific models of tumors called organoids, which offer scientists an unlimited supply of tumor tissue for research. Tumor organoids allow researchers to study the particularities of each patient’s tumor, test drugs, and identify which ones are most likely to be effective for each patient. NYSCF recently launched our Women’s Reproductive Cancers Initiative to realize the potential of organoids for transforming cancer research and personalizing care.

Hear from the Initiative’s global leaders in cancer research and treatment for an interactive discussion on emerging opportunities to personalize cancer treatments, including Laura Andres-Martin, PhD (The NYSCF Research Institute), Susan Domchek, MD (University of Pennsylvania), and Alessandro Santin, MD (Yale University). The conversation was moderated by NYSCF’s Associate Vice President of Scientific Outreach, Raeka Aiyar, PhD.

Check out highlights from the discussion here.

Moderator & Panelists

Raeka Aiyar, PhD (Moderator) – The NYSCF Research Institute
Laura Andres-Martin, PhD – The NYSCF Research Institute
Susan Domchek, MD – The University of Pennsylvania
Alessandro Santin, MD – Yale Cancer Center

Raeka Aiyar, PhD (Moderator)
Associate Vice President, Scientific Outreach
The NYSCF Research Institute

Dr. Aiyar is an experienced geneticist turned science communicator. Trained in biology and bioinformatics at the University of Waterloo, she received her PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany, where she used genomics approaches to define new therapeutic intervention points for mitochondrial diseases. Since then, Dr. Aiyar has dedicated her career to science communication, engaging a variety of audiences through writing, training, and outreach. As Director of Communications and Development at the Stanford Genome Technology Center, she led the Center’s scientific communications, including scientific strategy, program management, and collaboration building. In her current role, she oversees NYSCF’s scientific communication initiatives, develops content for diverse audiences, and leads our outreach to the research community.

Laura Andres-Martin, PhD
Research Investigator, Oncology
The NYSCF Research Institute

Laura Andres-Martin received her PhD from the University of Salamanca in Spain. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Weill Cornell Medicine, focusing on neurodegenerative disorders and adult stem cell biology. In 2015, she was awarded a NYSCF – Druckenmiller Postdoctoral Fellowship. She now leads NYSCF’s women’s reproductive cancer program, where her research is focused on applying stem cell technologies to create a ‘living biobank’ of patient-specific tumor samples as a route to developing advanced diagnostics, understanding cancer genetics, and selecting more effective, personalized therapeutics.

Susan Domchek, MD
Executive Director, Basser Center for BRCA
Director, MacDonald Women’s Cancer Risk Evaluation Center
Basser Professor in Oncology
The University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Dr. Domchek, a member of the NYSCF Women’s Reproductive Cancers Initiative Scientific Advisory Board, received her BA from Dartmouth College and her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She is a medical oncologist and a nationally recognized expert in the translation of genetic testing for cancer susceptibility into clinical care of patients in the areas of prevention, early detection, and cancer treatment. Her research interests include implementing novel strategies to improve uptake of genetic testing, further understanding specific risks associated with cancer susceptibility genes, and developing more effective therapies for BRCA1/2 mutation associated cancers. Dr. Domchek is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Alessandro Santin, MD
Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences
Disease Aligned Research Team Leader, Gynecologic Oncology Program
Co-Chief, Section of Gynecologic Oncology
Yale Cancer Center

Dr. Santin, a member of the NYSCF Women’s Reproductive Cancers Initiative Scientific Advisory Board, graduated with honors from the University of Brescia, Italy, and received his postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology at the same university. Dr. Santin joined the faculty in the Section of Gynecologic Oncology in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale as a Professor in 2008. He has produced more than 100 original research and peer-reviewed publications including multiple review articles and book chapters, and he has written extensively on various topics, including cancer of the ovary, endometrium and cervix as well as on tumor immunology and immunotherapy. Dr. Santin’s clinical interests include cancer of the ovary, uterus, vagina, cervix and vulva; intraperitoneal chemotherapy, tumor immunology and immunotherapy; tumor angiogenesis, radiation biology and experimental therapeutics in gynecologic oncology. His research program spans a range from basic studies in molecular cancer genetics and tumor immunology to translational clinical cancer research, testing novel immunotherapeutic strategies and targeted drugs for the treatment of gynecologic cancers.

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