Cancer is a systemic disease. Using both laboratory and clinical research, my group investigates the connections between metabolism, endocrinology, and immunology to discover how the body’s response to a tumor can be used to improve treatment for patients with cancer.
How do tumors interact with the biology of the host system? What can we learn from studying the physiology and biochemistry of the host system in the context of cancer? These are principle questions that drive the research in my laboratory. For example, we investigate the convergence of systemic metabolic stress, endocrinology, and suppressed anti-cancer immunity to discover mechanism-based strategies for combination therapy for patients with cancer. We have shown that interleukin-6 induced metabolic stress is sufficient to downregulate hepatic ketogenesis. This causes significant systemic stress during periods of caloric deficiency that are often part of the cancer care pathway. The resulting elevation of glucocorticoids suppresses anti-tumor immunity in model systems of pancreatic cancer. Using clinical samples and data, we have shown correlative findings of weight loss, reduced ketogenesis, and elevated glucocorticoids in patients with pancreatic cancer. Our work, therefore, confirms that cancer cannot be understood and probably not be treated, by investigating tumors in isolation. We use findings like these to develop strategies for interventional studies with the aim to improve outcome for patients with cancer.
Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Award
Wellcome Trust Translational Medicine and Therapeutics Academic Clinical Lectureship
Boehringer Ingelheim Fond PhD Fellowship
German National Merit Scholarship
Historic building—groundbreaking science
October 29, 2019
The Demerec building has been monumental in scientific history. Now, a $75 million renovation of this celebrated labspace will define CSHL’s future.
Cancer research from a different perspective
October 3, 2018
CSHL Assistant Professor Tobias Janowitz discusses his patient-centric approach to studying cancer
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