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Dr. Simone is an expert in using dietary alteration to increase the effectiveness of cytotoxic therapy, such as radiation and chemotherapy, in breast and prostate cancer in both the laboratory and clinic. Her research interest is to change the landscape of cancer care by empowering patients to use dietary interventions to improve outcomes. The overarching goal of the Simone laboratory, is to increase the radiation sensitivity of tumors with a poor response to standard therapies. To accomplish this, the lab uses diet to alter cell metabolism via signaling pathways to increase cancer cells’ vulnerability to cytotoxic therapy. Through the laboratory studies, new strategies for treating radiation resistant tumors, which has led to the development of innovative clinical trials.
Dr. Simone is the Co-Leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and the Margaret Q. Landenberger Endowed Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University. She has considerable experience in translational research, medical treatment, education and training. I joined the Jefferson faculty after a position as an Assistant Clinical Investigator at the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Simone’s laboratory has contributed significantly to studying regulation of microRNAs and the downstream effects of microRNAs on cell metabolism via dietary alterations. Her laboratory demonstrated for the first time that caloric restriction (CR) modifies microRNA expression (Ørom et al., Cell Cycle, 2012). The Simone laboratory then explored the physiologic impact of CR and demonstrated that CR can augment radiation therapy (Saleh et al., Cell Cycle, 2013), which she then translated directly into a clinical trial using diet during radiation for early stage breast cancer patients (NCT01819233). The lab found the same improved physiologic response of the primary tumor in vivo when CR was combined with chemotherapy, which was translated directly to a clinical trial (NCT02827370). Dr. Simone’s laboratory also investigated the role of microRNAs in the ability of CR to decrease metastatic disease burden via control of the ECM (Jin et al., Breast Cancer Res Treat, 2014; Simone et al., Cell Cycle, 2016) which is being considered as a NRG Oncology clinical trial concept. These findings led to her third IIT in which diet modulation prior to definitive oncologic surgery for patients with endometrial, prostate, and breast cancer will be evaluated to favorably alter expression of microRNAs as drivers of cancer progression (NCT02983279).