Dr. Raffit Hassan is a medical oncologist and senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute. He leads clinical trials of experimental drugs for mesothelioma.

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About Dr. Raffit Hassan

Dr. Raffit Hassan is a leading researcher at the Center for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Maryland. He works beside many of the top cancer experts in the nation. His research focuses on developing and testing new drugs to treat mesothelioma.

He received his medical degree from the University of Kashmir, India, in 1988. From there, he completed a residency at the University of Buffalo’s Sisters Hospital, followed by a fellowship at the National Cancer Institute.

After finishing his training, Hassan joined the University of Oklahoma’s medical faculty in 1998. Five years later, he accepted the opportunity to return to the National Cancer Institute. He became a tenured investigator there in 2008.

Hassan has received Career Development Awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the National Institutes of Health. He has also received the Pioneer Award from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

In 2017, ASCO recruited him onto a panel of mesothelioma experts to write updated guidelines for mesothelioma treatment. The panel published their recommendations in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2018.

Targeting Mesothelioma in Clinical Trials

Hassan has been the principal investigator on many clinical trials of emerging chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments.

His laboratory has developed immunotoxins and immunotherapy agents that target mesothelin, a valuable cancer marker often overexpressed in mesothelioma cells. Mesothelin-targeted agents studied by Hassan’s team include:
  • SS1P (immunotoxin)
  • Amatuximab (chimeric monoclonal antibody)
  • BAY 94-9343 (antibody drug conjugate)
  • CRS-207 (cancer vaccine)

More recently, Hassan has launched clinical trials of other targeted treatments for mesothelioma. One trial involves the immunotherapy drug Lynparza (olaparib). This protein-inhibitor has already proven effective for breast and ovarian cancers.

Another trial is testing the combination of the experimental drugs LMB-100 and SVP-Rapamycin.

LMB-100 has proven effective as an anti-tumor agent in previous trials. Researchers hope the immunosuppressant SVP-Rapamycin will give LMB-100 more time to kill cancer cells before the body’s immune system neutralizes it.

Hassan works at the leading edge in the search for new treatments for pleural mesothelioma.