Sarah K Tasian, MD

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Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the 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:
Asen Bagashev, PhD (research associate/scientist)
John Chukinas, BS (research technician)
Yang Ding, MD (post-doctoral fellow/instructor)
Catherine Falkenstein, BS (research technician)
Christian Hurtz, PhD (research associate/scientist)
Joseph Loftus, BS (research technician)
Lisa Niswander, MD PhD (post-doctoral fellow)
Colin Wakefield, BS (medical student)
Wiliam Vostrejs (undergraduate student)
Aliya Yu, BS (research technician)
Sisi Zheng, MD (post-doctoral fellow/instructor)

Selected Publications

Schulz L, Torres-Diz M, Cortés-López M, Hayer KE, Asnani M, Tasian SK, Barash Y, Sotillo E, Zarnack K, König J, Thomas-Tikhonenko A.: Direct long-read RNA sequencing identifies a subset of questionable exitrons likely arising from reverse transcription artifacts. Genome Biol 22: 190, June 2021.

Pommert L and Tasian SK: Chemotherapy Drug Shortages in Pediatric Oncology: A Global Public Health Crisis Threatening Our Children The Hematologist 18(4), June 2021.

Tasian SK and Unguru Y: Chemotherapy Drug Shortages in Pediatric Oncology The Hematologist June 2021 Notes: podcast:

Tasian SK: Invited expert interview. VJHemOnc May 2021 Notes: “Treatment of Patients with Ph-like ALL”

Tasian SK: Invited expert interview. VJHemOnc April 2021 Notes:

Tasian SK: Invited expert interview. VJHemOnc April 2021 Notes:

Loftus JP, Yahiaoui A, Brown PA, Niswander LM, Bagashev A, Wang M, Schauf A, Tannheimer S, Tasian SK.: Combinatorial efficacy of entospletinib and chemotherapy in patient-derived xenograft models of infant acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Haematologica 106: 1067-1078, April 2021.

SE Conneely and Tasian SK: Take Your ‘Asparagus Medicine,’ Kids! The Hematologist 18(3), March 2021 Notes:

Tasian SK: Immunotherapy and TKIs: Precision Agonism or Antagonism for Ph+ ALL? The Hematologist 18(2), February 2021 Notes:

Tasian SK.: Are we ABL to do better for children with BCR-ABL1-like acute lymphocytic leukaemia? Lancet Haematol 8: e6-e8, Jan 2021.

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Last updated: 09/03/2021
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