Raffit Hassan, M.D.

Senior Investigator

Thoracic and GI Malignancies Branch


Bldg 10; 10 Center Drive room: 4E-5330
Bethesda, MD 20892



Research Topics

Dr. Hassan's clinical and laboratory research is focused on developing mesothelin targeted immunotherapy to treat patients with malignant mesothelioma and other solid tumors. While working as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Ira Pastan, Dr. Hassan did the initial preclinical studies to exploit mesothelin as a target for cancer therapy and has played a key role in bringing mesothelin-directed therapies to the clinic. These include anti-mesothelin immunotoxins (SS1P and LMB-100), chimeric monoclonal antibody to mesothelin (Amatuximab) and anti-mesothelin antibody drug conjugate (BAY 94-9343).

His lab has recently developed highly active CAR T cells (hYP218) that target a membrane proximal epitope of mesothelin and clinical trial of hYP218 CAR T cells to treat patients with treatment refractory solid tumors is expected to open soon at the NCI. His ongoing laboratory studies are focused on making CAR T cells effective to treat solid tumors by overcoming tumor immune suppressive factors; improving persistence of CAR T cells and using mesothelin directed NK cells for cellular therapy.

In addition, he is interested in mesothelioma genetics and has initiated a long-term prospective trial of cancer screening in patients and their asymptomatic family members harboring pathogenic mutations in the BAP1 gene for early detection of different cancers to which they are predisposed. This protocol will provide definitive answers about incidence of different cancers in these families and whether early cancer detection will improve their outcomes.


Dr. Raffit Hassan is a medical oncologist and senior investigator at NCI. He received his medical degree from the University of Kashmir, India in 1988 and did his internship and residency training in internal medicine at Sisters Hospital, University of Buffalo and subsequently completed his medical oncology fellowship at the NCI. After finishing his fellowship training he joined the medical faculty at the University of Oklahoma in 1998. He returned to NCI as a tenure track investigator in 2002 and received tenure in 2008. Dr. Hassan is a recipient of the ASCO Career Development Award, the NIH Patient Oriented Research Career Development Award and the Pioneer Award from the Mesothelioma Foundation.

Selected Publications

  1. Pastan I, Hassan R. Discovery of mesothelin and exploiting it as a target for immunotherapy. Cancer Res. 2014;74(11):2907-12.
  2. Hassan R, Miller AC, Sharon E, Thomas A, Reynolds JC, Ling A, Kreitman RJ, Miettinen MM, Steinberg SM, Fowler DH, Pastan I. Major cancer regressions in mesothelioma after treatment with an anti-mesothelin immunotoxin and immune suppression. Sci Transl Med. 2013;5(208):208ra147.
  3. Hassan R, Cohen SJ, Phillips M, Pastan I, Sharon E, Kelly RJ, Schweizer C, Weil S, Laheru D. Phase I clinical trial of the chimeric anti-mesothelin monoclonal antibody MORAb-009 in patients with mesothelin-expressing cancers. Clin Cancer Res. 2010;16(24):6132-8.
  4. Hassan R, Remaley AT, Sampson ML, Zhang J, Cox DD, Pingpank J, Alexander R, Willingham M, Pastan I, Onda M. Detection and quantitation of serum mesothelin, a tumor marker for patients with mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2006;12(2):447-53.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, March 5, 2024