DF/HCC New Member

Please welcome Dr. Kanarek who recently joined DF/HCC, and is a member of the Leukemia Program.



Hi, my name is Naama Kanarek. I am a new faculty in the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. I’m in the Leukemia program, and I sit in Boston Children's Hospital in the pathology department. My background is mostly cancer signaling and then I moved more into the cancer metabolism field, and I found myself focusing more on one-carbon metabolism which is a really big hot field within the cancer metabolism. And there I focused even more on folate metabolism.

One nutrient that we know is doing so much and is so important for the tumor progression, and we also know is important for the immune system, is important for the gut epithelium, by focusing our research on folate we try to address questions that are important for the tumor metabolism itself, but also for the host, for the patient. Can we help the patient by understanding the needs for folate for the healthy tissues, and also not compromise too much the general health safety of the patient while treating the tumor successfully.

We really would like to work with people who study leukemia and lymphoma in the context of folate metabolism in these diseases. I actually just reached out two days ago to somebody from one the other programs in regards to brain tumors. Because one of the questions that we ask in the context of leukemia and lymphoma we find that sometimes, especially in pediatric leukemia, the children develop secondary lesions in the brain.

The prognosis of the patients goes down quite significantly, and we now try to focus on these cells, the cells that choose to home to the brain. Why do they go to the brain? Can the brain offer them something that is maybe nutritional-specific that answers some need of the cells? We don’t know exactly what it is in the brain that allows these leukemia cells to prosper there, but we will like to address that from a metabolic point of view. To do this, we would like to collaborate with people that have expertise of studying these tumor lesions. And by combining our expertise with cancer metabolism, with expertise of other labs that study specific tumors, we can really, I think, make a significant advancement.