Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST)
I am interested in both the role of molecular signaling in the genesis of liver cancers and the study of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). Currently, my laboratory is investigating: 1) novel allosteric kinase inhibitors to target imatinib-resistant GIST; 2) the role of Hedgehog signaling in the development of GIST; 3) the genomics of wild-type (WT), lacking driver mutations in KIT, PDGFRA, SDHx, or RAS pathway components (KRAS, BRAF, NF-1); 4) the epidemiology of GIST; and 5) novel surgical approaches for GIST (e.g., laparo-endoscopic gastric surgery and intra-operative fluorescence labeling of tumors).
Primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC)
As a postdoctoral research fellow, my colleagues and I were the first to identify the way in which the Hedgehog signaling pathway regulates liver progenitors, hepatic stellate cells, and human hepatocellular carcinoma. This body of work has been presented at national and international meetings, as well as has been published in peer-reviewed journals. As Hedgehog inhibitors have entered the clinic, this work holds the potential for high impact and translation into clinical trials. We have moved our findings from the bench to the bedside. I am the principal investigator of an investigator-initiated trial titled, “Phase Ib Study of Single Agent Sonidegib, an Oral Hedgehog Inhibitor, as Second-Line Therapy in Patients with Advanced or Metastatic Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Child-Pugh A/B7 Cirrhosis (NCT02151864).” This is the first study of a Hedgehog inhibitor in humans with liver diseases.
As a clinician-scientist, I am always interested in translating my scientific findings into the clinical care of my patients. With the recent revolution of genomics, many genetic investigations have become technically and fiscally feasible. Our interest in linking genomics with personalized cancer care led to the initiation of a multi-disciplinary molecular tumor board at Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health. In order to apply this approach more rigorously, Dr. Razelle Kurzrock and I are co-principal investigators on a genomic-driven clinical study of 225 patients titled, I-PREDICT (Investigation of Profile-Related Evidence Determining Individualized Cancer Therapy; NCT02534675).
Targeting Traditional Tumor Cells and Untraditional Tumor Microenvironment Cells in PDGFRA D842V Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST)
Funder: The David Foundation
Targeting Imatinib-Resistant, KIT Negative Cells in Human GISTs
Funder: Kristen Ann Carr Fund
James IV Association of Surgeons Traveling Fellowship recipient, 2018
In the News
January 24, 2018
Jason Sicklick Receives James IV Traveling Fellowship
Describes Sicklick’s plans for the fellowship, including plans to visit sarcoma programs of the Transatlantic Retroperitoneal Sarcoma Working Group, of which he is a member, including the Sarcoma Unit at the Royal Marsden in London; the Istituto Nazionale Tumori in Milan; the Netherlands Cancer Institute; and the Sarcoma Unit at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto; and other hospitals in Europe. In Asia, he plans to organize visits to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and China.
January 22, 2018
Debra Melikian is a mother on a mission
Profiles Dr. Sicklick’s work with Debra Melikian, whose GIST-afflicated son was cared for by Sicklick, to raise awareness about GIST and funding for research. Melikian presented Dr. Sicklick with the Life Raft Group's Clinician of the Year Award in 2017.
August 18, 2017
Reviews results published in the August online issue of JCO Precision Oncology that a specific region of the small bowel, called the duodenal-jejunal flexure, shows a high frequency of GISTs with mutations of the NF1 gene. Includes interview with Dr. Sicklick about the research.