Step inside the World’s Newest Cholangiocarcinoma Research Lab – Saha Laboratory

Step inside the World’s Newest Cholangiocarcinoma Research Lab – Saha Laboratory

Supriya Saha

Principal Investigator:

Supriya K Saha, MD, PhD

  • Assistant Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Human Biology & Clinical Research Divisions
  • Assistant Professor, University of Washington Medical Center Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington





2 postdoctoral fellows, 1 laboratory manager


Our laboratory seeks to identify and characterize new treatment strategies for cholangiocarcinoma, and to translate our laboratory findings into innovative clinic trials that improve the lives of our patients.

Dr. Saha’s work on cholangiocarcinoma has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in major scientific journals, including Nature.
He was also the recipient of a $60,000 Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award funded by the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation (CCF).

Message to Patients:

  • The generous support I received from the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation as an early investigator was truly critical in my decision to dedicate my career to tackling this disease.
  • I am thrilled to have the opportunity to establish a new laboratory and clinical research program devoted to cholangiocarcinoma research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. We hope our work will expand and accelerate the significant progress we have seen over the last few years for patients diagnosed with this disease.

Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Sees Great Promise in New Research Lab

Read the CCF Press Release

Dr. Saha is an outstanding physician-scientist who has made a deep commitment to studying cholangiocarcinoma. He has developed an impressive series of model systems that are key to solving the biological and genetic processes that go awry during the progression of this cancer type. Dr. Saha has already made important insights into one of the major gene mutations found in cholangiocarcinoma patients. With these insights and model systems in hand, he is poised to make the important next step of defining ways to combat this terrible disease. The support from the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation has been vital in helping him to create this impressive program. Dr. Nabeel Bardeesy

Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

Greatest Achievement:

In addition to contributing to a number of important studies in cholangiocarcinoma over the last few years, my greatest achievement has been to establish an independent laboratory dedicated to cholangiocarcinoma research.

Greatest Challenge:

As a new investigator studying what is considered to be a rare cancer, it can be challenging to compete for limited funding opportunities with established laboratories that focus on more common cancers. Unfortunately, cholangiocarcinoma research remains greatly underfunded even compared to other rare cancers. The CCF is helping to change this both through its patient advocacy and by encouraging young scientists to focus their efforts on this important problem.

CCF Funded Research

  • 2013 Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award
  • Mutant IDH Inhibits HNF-4a to Block Hepatocyte Differentiation and Promote Biliary Cancer
  • Goal: To develop animal models, including gene mutations, to better understand cholangiocarcinoma in humans
Cholangiocarcinoma Research Publications
  1. Goyal L*, Saha SK*, Liu LY, Siravegna G, Leshchiner I, Ahronian LG, Lennerz JK, Vu P, Deshpande V, Kambadakone A, Mussolin B, Reyes S, Henderson L, Sun JE, Van Seventer EE, Gurski JM Jr, Baltschukat S, Schacher-Engstler B, Barys L, Stamm C, Furet P, Ryan DP, Stone JR, Iafrate AJ, Getz G, Porta DG, Tiedt R, Bardelli A, Juric D, Corcoran RB, Bardeesy N, Zhu AX. (2017). Polyclonal Secondary FGFR2 Mutations Drive Acquired Resistance to FGFR Inhibition in Patients with FGFR2 Fusion-Positive Cholangiocarcinoma. Cancer Discovery, 7:252-263. *These authors contributed equally.
  2. Saha SK, Gordan JD, Kleinstiver BP, Vu P, Najem MS, Yeo J, Shi L, Kato Y, Levin RS, Webber JT, Damon LJ, Egan RK, Greninger P, McDermott U, Garnett MJ, Jenkins RJ, Rieger-Christ KM, Sullivan TB, Hezel AF, Liss AS, Mizukami Y, Goyal L, Ferrone CR, Zhu AX, Joung JK, Shokat KM, Benes CH, Bardeesy N. (2016). Isocitrate dehydrogenase mutations confer dasatinib hypersensitivity and SRC-dependence in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Cancer Discovery, 6:727-39.
  3. Saha SK, Zhu AX, Fuchs CS, Brooks GA. (2016). Forty-Year Trends in Cholangiocarcinoma Incidence in the United States: Intrahepatic Disease on the Rise. Oncologist, 21:594-9.
  4. Saha SK*, Parachoniak CA*, Ghanta KS, Fitamant JF, Ross KN, Najem MS, Gurumurthy S, Akbay EA, Sia D, Cornella H, Miltiadous O, Walesky C, Desphande V, Zhu AX, Hezel AF, Yen K, Straley K, Travins J, Popovici-Muller J, Gliser C, Ferrone CR, Apte U, Llovet JM, Wong KK, Ramaswamy S, Bardeesy N. (2014). Mutant IDH inhibits HNF4a to block hepatocyte differentiation and promote biliary cancer. Nature, 513:110-4. *These authors contributed equally.
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