Su Young Kim, MD PhD, Assistant Clinical Investigator
Dr. Kim received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago under the supervision of Dr. Carol Westbrook in the Department of Molecular Genetics. His thesis centered on physical mapping and functional analysis of the 8p22 tumor suppressor gene interval. Concurrently, he received his M.D. from the University of Chicago. This was followed by pediatric residency training at the University of Texas at Houston and a pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship in the joint NIH - Johns Hopkins program. Dr. Kim was selected to the Center for Cancer Research Clinical Investigator Development Program. He continues at the NIH in the Pediatric Oncology Branch as an assistant clinical investigator.
The emphasis of my studies is translational research, in order to advance the findings from the laboratory into the clinic, specifically for osteosarcoma. Survival rates for patients with osteosarcoma have increased dramatically due to the combination of surgery and chemotherapy. However, they have recently plateaued despite many attempts to change and intensify chemotherapy regimens. Therefore, we have focused our studies on biological targets. We are beginning a wide-ranging sequencing project of signaling kinases. The goal is to identify activating mutations in tumor samples that can then be used as targets for therapy. Additional work in our laboratory focuses on the roles of the signaling receptors MET and SRC in tumorigenesis and the metastatic cascade. The goal of our studies is to translate the knowledge that we gain in the laboratory into treatment protocols for patients with osteosarcoma.
One of my clinical focuses is pediatric Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST). This is a rare disorder, affecting less than 200 patients in the United States. The rarity of this tumor, combined with biological differences between children and adults with GIST, have made it difficult to study the natural history of this disorder and to determine the best therapy for pediatric patients. In an effort to help answer this question, we developed the NIH Pediatric and wildtype GIST clinic. This clinic is a collaborative effort to bring together patients and medical specialists in an effort to better understand the pathogenesis of GIST and to develop the best treatment alternatives for these patients. Fifty-eight patients have attended five clinics to date and they will continue twice yearly until every patient with Pediatric or wildtype GIST has had the opportunity to attend.