Dr. Raffit Hassan

Senior Investigator of Thoracic and GastroIntestinal Malignancies at National Cancer Institute

Dr. Raffit Hassan is one of the top researchers for mesothelioma. He’s invested in uncovering facts about pleural mesothelioma and is part of many high-profile clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute.

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Pleural Mesothelioma

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National Cancer Institute

31 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892

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More Information About Mesothelioma Specialist Dr. Raffit Hassan

Dr. Hassan is a medical oncologist with a focus on new discoveries for mesothelioma treatment. A lot of his work focuses on the protein mesothelin, which is overexpressed on mesothelioma tumors. This protein can be a target for some therapies, and Dr. Hassan’s advancements range from monoclonal antibodies – a type of immunotherapy – to a mesothelin-targeted vaccine drug.

Dr. Hassan joined the medical faculty at University of Oklahoma in 1998, an example of how long his medical oncology career spans. He returned to the National Cancer Institute in 2002.

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Medical Degrees and Residencies

    • Medical Degree from University of Kashmir in India, 1988
    • Residency in Internal Medicine University of Buffalo’s Sisters Hospital
    • Fellowship in Medical Oncology at National Cancer Institute
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Certifications and Memberships

    • Recipient of American Society of Clinical Oncology Career Development Award
    • Recipient of the National Cancer Institute Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award
    • Recipient of the Mesothelioma Foundation’s Pioneer Award

Get Connected to Dr. Raffit Hassan

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Dr. Raffit Hassan is a medical oncologist and the senior investigator of mesothelioma research. He is responsible for many breakthroughs and new therapies targeting the protein mesothelin. He continues to advance treatment options beyond one-size-fits-all approaches.

Why Choose Dr. Hassan?

  • Groundbreaking research in advancing treatment
  • Principal investigator for many clinical studies and trials
  • Dedicated career to finding new treatment options








Diagnosis:


Pushing Mesothelin as a Target

Dr. Hassan has developed three mesothelin-targeting therapies. One is CRS-207, which recently went to clinical trial in a phase 1 study for mesothelioma.

“Mesothelin is highly expressed in most solid tumors,” Dr. Hassan said in a video about new therapies. “Almost 100% of mesothelioma epithelioid types (express it).”

CRS-207 is a live-attenuated Listeria monocytogene, a bacterium tasked with entering the body, interacting with mesothelin, and triggering a response from the immune system. This is essentially a virotherapy. Cancer is dangerous because the disease suppresses the immune system, so a bacterium like CRS-207 flips the switch on.

In a clinical trial, CRS-207 paired with chemotherapy had an 89% disease control rate, meaning their mesothelioma didn’t worsen.

Other therapies focused on mesothelin include an immunotoxin (SS1P), a chimeric monoclonal antibody (amatuximab) and an anti-mesothelin drug (LMB-100).

The last of the group, LMB-100, was tested with immunotherapy drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab). Patients with high counts of PD-L1 protein (Keytruda’s target) had an average survival time of 28 months. Two patients out of five in the group were alive at least 32 months after receiving treatment.

Advocate for Immunotherapy

Dr. Hassan is a proponent of the combination of Opdivo and Yervoy (nivolumab and ipilimumab) for malignant mesothelioma. He discussed all the different immunotherapy drugs in testing during a video on YouTube.

“Clearly, immunotherapy has made a significant impact for this disease and it is now the standard of care for newly diagnosed patients,” he said. “There are other trials combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy or other agents.”

He is researching the combination of mesothelin-targeted therapies plus immune checkpoint inhibitors. One analysis looks at LMB-100 with a CTLA-4 inhibitor (ipilimumab). Dr. Hassan saw a tumor response to the combination therapy in mice.

“We believe that injection of LMB-100 into the tumor plus systemic anti-CTLA-4 antibody can lead to tumor regression,” he said.

Connect With Dr. Hassan at National Cancer Institute

Dr. Hassan’s value to mesothelioma patients is as a researcher and through clinical trials. He is part of many studies into new therapies, such as LMB-100 and CRS-207. Anti-mesothelin drugs are proving effective at slowing down disease growth and spread.

If you’d like to enroll in one of Dr. Hassan’s studies at the National Cancer Institute, reach out to our patient advocate team. Karen Ritter, our registered nurse and lead advocate, is your best ally in finding a trial. Email her at karen@mesotheliomaguide.com.

Sources & Author

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About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.