Sarah K Tasian, MD

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Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Member, Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Chief, Hematologic Malignancies Program, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Joshua Kahan Endowed Chair in Pediatric Leukemia Research, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Department: Pediatrics

Contact information
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Oncology and Center for Childhood Cancer Research
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Abramson Cancer Center
3501 Civic Center Boulevard, CTRB 3056
Philadelphia, PA 19104
BS, BA (Biological Sciences, Psychology)
University of Notre Dame, 1999.
MD (Medicine)
Baylor College of Medicine, 2004.
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Description of Clinical Expertise

I have clinical expertise in the care of children, adolescents, and young adults with hematologic malignancies, particularly those with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), and juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). My particular clinical interests include integration of comprehensive leukemia genetic data with therapy selection for children with high risk newly-diagnosed and relapsed ALL and AML with a focus on precision medicine treatment approaches.

I am Chief of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and attend on the inpatient leukemia/lymphoma service and outpatient clinic. I have procedural expertise in bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, lumbar punctures (spinal taps), Ommaya reservoir taps, administration of intrathecal chemotherapy, and skin biopsies for germline testing.

Description of Other Expertise

I am a primary clinical mentor in Hematologic Malignancies for first, second, third, and fourth year pediatric hematology-oncology fellows and closely supervise their patient care in the inpatient and outpatient clinical settings. I also teach and supervise pediatric residents in the inpatient setting.

Description of Research Expertise

My overarching career goal as an academic pediatric oncologist and translational physician-scientist is to develop successful precision medicine therapies for children with high-risk leukemias aimed at decreasing relapse risk, minimizing toxicity, and improving long-term survival. My independent research program focuses upon identification of targeted therapeutic strategies for childhood leukemias via (1) mechanistic interrogation of aberrant signal transduction networks and preclinical testing of kinase and other small molecule inhibitors in genetic subtypes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), (2) preclinical testing of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapies for high-risk AML and ALL, and (3) early-phase clinical investigation of targeted inhibitors and cell therapies for children with leukemia and associated correlative biology studies through the Children’s Oncology Group, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Pediatric Acute Leukemia (PedAL) Children's Initiative, and other leukemia/cell therapy consortia. My laboratory has particular expertise in preclinical evaluation of small molecule inhibitors and CAR T cells in ALL and AML patient-derived xenograft models, as well as in phosphosignaling analyses and measurement of patients’ molecular responses to targeted inhibitors. Successful integration of my laboratory’s bench-based and clinical correlative studies has led to multiple trials testing targeted therapies in children with high-risk leukemias, many of which I also lead or co-lead.

Current Tasian laboratory members and collaborators:
Tommaso Balestra, PhD (post-doctoral fellow)
Robert Chen, BS (research technician)
Yang Ding, MD (post-doctoral fellow/instructor)
Catherine Falkenstein, BS (research technician)
Samantha McClellan, BS (research technician)
Lisa Niswander, MD PhD (post-doctoral fellow/instructor)

Selected Publications

Egan G, Tasian SK.: Relapsed pediatric acute myeloid leukaemia: state-of-the-art in 2023. Haematologica Mar 2023.

Tasian SK: Childhood ALL: Small Patients, Yet Ever Bigger Genetic Complexity. The Hematologist 20(2), February 2023 Notes:

Niswander LM, Graff ZT, Chien CD, Chukinas JA, Meadows CA, Leach LC, Loftus JP, Kohler ME, Tasian SK, Fry TJ.: Potent preclinical activity of FLT3-directed chimeric antigen receptor T-cell immunotherapy against FLT3- mutant acute myeloid leukemia and KMT2A-rearranged acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Haematologica 108: 457-471, Feb 2023.

Tasian SK: Understanding the Ontogeny of Our Tiniest Patients With Leukemia The Hematologist 20(1), January 2023 Notes:

Tran TH, Tasian SK.: Clinical screening for Ph-like ALL and the developing role of TKIs. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program 2022: 594-602, Dec 2022.

Ding YY and Tasian SK: Agreeing to Agree: International Consensus Definitions of Complete Remission, Treatment Failure, and Relapse in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The Hematologist 19(6), October 2022 Notes:

Rutella S, Vadakekolathu J, Mazziotta F, Reeder S, Yau TO, Mukhopadhyay R, Dickins B, Altmann H, Kramer M, Knaus HA, Blazar BR, Radojcic V, Zeidner JF, Arruda A, Wang B, Abbas HA, Minden MD, Tasian SK, Bornhäuser M, Gojo I, Luznik L.: Signatures of immune dysfunction predict outcomes and define checkpoint blockade-unresponsive microenvironments in acute myeloid leukemia. J Clin Invest Sep 2022.

Takasaki K and Tasian SK: The Ups and Downs of Leukemia in Children with Down Syndrome. The Hematologist Aug 2022 Notes:

Takasaki K and Tasian SK: The Ups and Downs of Leukemia in Children With Trisomy 21. The Hematologist 19(5), August 2022 Notes:

Pariury H and Tasian SK : Targeting CD22 in Children With Relapsed B-ALL: At Least One Good Thing Happened in 2022. The Hematologist June 2022 Notes:

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Last updated: 03/03/2023
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