Ghassan Abou-Alfa

Ghassan Abou-Alfa ’16

MD, Professor of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Ghassan Abou-Alfa is an attending physician part of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Abou-Alfa specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers and in particular, liver and biliary cancers. Dr. Abou-Alfa received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and completed his post-doctoral training at Yale University School of Medicine. He received his MBA from Columbia University. Dr. Abou-Alfa serves as the chair of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Task Force for Hepatobiliary Cancers, the chair of the AIDS Malignancy Consortium (AMC) Non-AIDS Defining Malignancies (NADC) Liver/GI Task Force; and is the President-Elect for the International Society of Gastrointestinal Oncology. Dr. Abou-Alfa has lectured worldwide on the subject on gastrointestinal malignancies. He serves as the chair the medical/scientific board of the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation and the Blue Faery Liver Foundation, and also serves on the National Medical Advisory Committee of the American Liver Foundation.

Dr. Abou-Alfa’s research work focuses on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Dr. Abou-Alfa continues his work to help advance the field. His research focuses on incorporating small biological molecules into standard cancer therapies. In recent years, he led the initial international effort that helped evaluate sorafenib in HCC. He led the first NCI sponsored multi-cooperative group phase III trial in HCC. He also led the efforts evaluating cabozantinib in HCC with positive outcome results that were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr Abou-Alfa continues to lead several international efforts and is involved in conducting clinical trials with colleagues around the world, including an effort that helps better understand HCC varying risk factors in different regions of the world and among multiple ethnicities.

Dr. Abou-Alfa has taken on an advocacy role. He co-authored with hepatobiliary surgeon the chairman of surgery at U. Penn Ronald DeMatteo 100 Questions and Answers About Liver Cancer book, now in its planned fourth edition. He also co-authored with his wife Eileen O’Reilly, also a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a similar book on bile ducts cancers now in its planned third edition.

Dr. Abou-Alfa has also spearheaded many international projects since 2006, and now serves on the institutional leadership panel for international healthcare. Dr. Abou-Alfa helped Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center establish a strong relationship with many institutions worldwide, with an ongoing faculty exchange, repeated video-link conferencing, class-training courses, and supporting fellowship opportunities for excelling medical graduates. These joint collaborations have led to the development of a first one of a kind joint tissue bank with a shared database with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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