Researcher Spotlight: Zachary Epstein-Peterson, MD
MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER
Peripheral T-cell lymphomas are a rare and challenging group of malignancies to treat. Mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) enzyme have been identified in a subgroup of patients with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL), which preliminary evidence suggests may be treatable with IDH2 inhibitors. Expanding on
these early results, Dr. Epstein-Peterson’s LRF research aims to develop novel IDH2 inhibitors to treat AITL patients with these specific underlying mutations. “At the same time, we will seek to understand the implications of IDH2 mutations in the context of AITL in more detail, which may provide more general insights into molecular based treatments for AITL,” he says.
Dr. Epstein-Peterson earned his MD from Harvard Medical School and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He was named an LRF Scholar in 2021 as a part of the LRF Lymphoma Scientific Research Mentoring Program. While he entered his fellowship training with an open mind, Dr. Epstein- Peterson has always been interested in hematologic malignancies. He notes that during his training he was struck by the diversity of ways these diseases affect patients and how they are treated. “There is no ‘one-size fits-all’ approach for treating lymphomas, and I appreciate this challenge,” says Dr. Epstein-Peterson.
Through his work with the LRF, Dr. Epstein-Peterson hopes to develop a career as both a clinical and clinical translational researcher in lymphoma, with a special interest in T-cell and cutaneous lymphomas. “I enjoy participating in clinical trial development and execution but also appreciate partnering with our scientific collaborators to link clinical developments with scientific ones and find this synergy extremely rewarding,” he says. He notes that these developments in clinical treatment options challenge clinicians to integrate all of the available evidence to establish the best treatment options for individual patients.