Meet the Researchers

Triparna Sen, PhD

Cell and molecular biologist

Class of 2020

Dr. Triparna Sen is an Associate Professor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City

Novel therapies for small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

Hear from Dr. Sen about her lung cancer research

Their Story

Improving small cell lung cancer life expectancy: Dr. Triparna Sen

Lung cancer research has made many wonderful advances in just the past few years. However, small cell lung cancer life expectancy has not increased as quickly as the non small cell lung cancer survival rate. In fact, in 2012, SCLC was included in the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, which called upon the National Cancer Institute to “develop scientific frameworks that will help provide the strategic direction and guidance needed to make true progress against recalcitrant or deadly cancers.”

Dr. Triparna Sen’s LCFA-funded lung cancer research is working to improve these outcomes for small cell lung cancer patients and to increase small cell lung cancer life expectancy.

Grants Awarded

LCFA/IASLC/BMS Young Investigator Award

About the LCFA-Funded Research

Dr. Sen's LCFA Funded Project

Dr. Sen’s Personal Statement

I am a lung cancer researcher with translational and basic research experience in the field of immuno-oncology, metastasis, and DNA damage response (DDR). A broad laboratory background has given me a unique perspective on targeted therapy and the integration of novel therapies into the clinic for the treatment of patients with lung cancer, especially, small cell lung cancer (SCLC). SCLC is a recalcitrant cancer in which patients initially respond well to standard of care chemotherapy, but rapidly develop resistance. Survival rates are dismal and second-line treatments are ineffective creating an urgent unmet need for understanding the biology and identifying new therapeutic targets for SCLC.

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the most aggressive and metastatic form of lung cancer with an average of 33,000 new cases diagnosed in the US annually. The 2-year survival rate for advanced-stage disease is <5% and overall survival averages less than a year. There are no approved targeted therapies and chemo-immunotherapy has only shown modest activity. Thus, patients with SCLC are in desperate need of new effective treatment strategies. SCLC is one of the cancers that remains unchecked by the bodies’ immune system by decreasing expression of major histocompatibility (MHC) class I, that communicates and coordinates with the immune system to mark cells within the body that should be eliminated. In this proposal, Dr. Sen seeks to re-engage the immune system to target and eliminate SCLC cells by restoring expression of MHC class I. The preliminary data suggest that one way that SCLCs inhibit MHC class I expression is by epigenetic processes. In this proposal Dr. Sen will test this theory using complementary drug and genetic approaches to inhibit key epigenetic modifiers in preclinical models and clinical samples of SCLC to determine whether MHC class I expression is restored and immune cells capable of eliminating cancerous cells are increased at the tumor site. Since drugs targeting these pathways are already in early-stage clinical trials, the novel combination treatment strategies proposed by this work can be quickly applied to studies involving human subjects. The potential to improve outcomes and quality-of-life in patients with SCLC is immediate and widespread.

Complete List of Published Works