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Molecular Medicine at Fox Chase
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Andres Klein-Szanto, MD, PhD
|Dr. Andres Klein-Szanto is a Professor in the Cancer Biology program and is a member of the The Keystone Program in Head and Neck Cancer|
Throughout the span of his 40-year career, the way in which Andres conducts his research has certainly evolved.
"As a younger researcher I embraced, perhaps too eagerly, the concept 'publish or perish,'" says Dr. Andres Klein-Szanto, professor in the Cancer Biology program, director of the Histopathology facility and a member of The Keystone Program in Head and Neck Cancer. "But if one gets excessively focused in trying to publish as many papers and produce as many ideas as possible, there is a risk of losing focus without developing significant achievements in research. I would say that in my 25 years at Fox Chase Cancer Center, I tried to become more focused on understanding the mechanisms of cancer."
Andres graduated from the University of Buenos Aires Medical School at the age of 22 and went on to receive a Doctor Med Sci (equivalent to a PhD) for his work in experimental pathology. He has published more than 340 scientific papers and four books, and was fully funded by research grants for most of his career, seldom accomplished in the field of cancer research/pathology.
When asked about the high point in his career, Andres modestly replies, "I would say one of the grains of sand that contributed to the Himalayas of cancer research is the development of a technique to grow normal human tissues in vivo (in animals) and to induce pre-cancer and cancerous growths in these tissues using tobacco smoke-derived carcinogens."
In another animal model, Andres also described for the first time, p53 gene signature mutations seen in tumors produced in vivo by benzo(a)pyrene, the most ubiquitous human carcinogen present in tobacco smoke and that are also present in many human lung cancers.
His current research involves working on inhibiting pro-protein convertases, enzymes that activate cancer related biomolecules, such as PACE-4 and furin, during the early and late stages of tumor progression. This work, Andres explains, will be his next "grain of sand."
In addition to his research, Andres serves as the director of the Histopathology core facility. He emphasized that this role has given him the extraordinary experience of collaborating with dozens of exceptional principal investigators, thus enriching his scientific as well as his personal life.