Tobias Berg
Associate Professor, Oncology

The focus of my research is on understanding determinants of treatment response in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and on developing novel treatment approaches based on this understanding. While modern treatment approaches including allogeneic stem cell transplantation can often result in a remission in patients with AML, many patients still experience relapse making AML a highly difficult to treat and resistant cancer. The development of leukemia as well as relapse (in particular after allogeneic stem cell transplantation) are often driven by epigenetic processes. We therefore study the role of epigenetic regulators in AML and their interplay with regulators of lineage-specific differentiation, metabolism, and immune recognition. In these studies, we now use functional model systems in vitro and in vivo, single-cell sequencing analysis as well as functional metabolic studies. To facilitate this research, we are collecting primary samples from patients with hematological malignancies in our HHS McMaster Cancer Research Stem Cell Bank.

The goal of our work is to identify novel treatment combinations and develop maintenance strategies to prevent relapse in AML after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Our work is funded through the Boris Family Chair for Leukemia and Hemopoietic Stem Cell Translational Research, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research Fund and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR).

As a hematologist, I am treating patients with hematological malignancies at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC). I am also a member of the Stem Cell and Cellular Therapy Program that offers both autologous and allogeneic (related or unrelated donor) stem cell transplants and has been pioneering in chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T-Cell) therapy. I have been actively involved in clinical trials at different phases of development. In these roles I am leading the Translational Oncology Program in McMaster’s Centre for Discovery in Cancer Research (CDCR) that facilitates collaborations and acts as a bridge between the clinicians at the JCC and basic cancer researchers in CDCR.
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