An essential component of the UF Health Cancer Center’s mission is conducting clinical research that directly impacts patients by delivering new and promising cancer treatments. The Cancer Center’s innovative clinical research, funded in part through the state of Florida, includes developing and implementing cancer clinical trials that bring opportunities for patients in Florida and beyond to access new cancer treatments. This leading-edge research ensures the Cancer Center provides patient care that meets the needs of the rural and diverse population it serves and contributes to advancing scientific progress for future patients.
Ilyas Sahin, M.D., an assistant professor in the division of hematology and oncology in the department of medicine in the UF College of Medicine, is one of the clinical investigators at the Cancer Center who has dedicated his career to developing better treatments for patients with gastrointestinal cancer, particularly cancers involving the liver, stomach and esophagus.
Sahin earned his medical degree from the internationally renowned Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine in Turkey. He went on to work as a postdoctoral research fellow in medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and completed an internal medicine residency at the Mount Auburn Hospital, both of which are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. He completed his hematology and oncology at Rhode Island Hospital, the principal teaching hospital of Brown University.
Before joining UF, Sahin was an assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and a clinical hematologist/oncologist at Miriam Hospital with the Lifespan Cancer Institute. Given his expertise and distinction, he was recruited to join the UF faculty and UF Health Cancer Center.
Sahin’s research focuses on enhancing cancer immunotherapy and avoiding or overcoming immunotherapy resistance. Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that enhances a patient’s own immune system to better fight cancer. His work focuses on developing novel strategies to enhance the effectiveness of immune-based therapies in cancer treatment and investigating the underlying mechanisms of immune resistance in tumors. His expertise in this field has led to collaborations with leading researchers in cancer immunology. His dedication to advancing the field of cancer immunotherapy and resistance makes him a valuable asset to UF Health Cancer Center, which is dedicated to improving cancer treatment outcomes.
Sahin focuses on gastrointestinal cancer, with particular emphasis on cancers affecting the esophagus, stomach, liver and biliary tract/gallbladder. Mortality rates for several of these gastrointestinal cancers are higher in the 23-county area the UF Health Cancer Center serves than they are in the rest of Florida and in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, Florida ranks third in the United States in the number of new cases of liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer diagnosed each year, after California and Texas. Sahin works closely with other members of the hepatobiliary cancer team at the Cancer Center, a renowned referral center for these complex cancers, which also includes the potential for liver transplantation in select situations. He offers specialized care and innovative treatment options to patients from across the region and beyond.
“Working as a gastrointestinal oncology expert and researcher in cancer immunotherapy and resistance in gastrointestinal cancers at the UF Health Cancer Center has been truly fulfilling,” Sahin said. “We are a dedicated team committed to providing our patients with the best possible care, and we stay at the forefront of cancer research and treatment by collaborating with top experts in the field and conducting innovative clinical trials. This allows us to offer our patients the latest advancements in cancer care and continue to improve outcomes for those we serve.”
“We are a dedicated team committed to providing our patients with the best possible care, and we stay at the forefront of cancer research and treatment by collaborating with top experts in the field and conducting innovative clinical trials.”Ilyas Sahin, M.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Florida College of Medicine
Support from the state of Florida through the Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Act (Fla. Stat. § 381.915) has been critical to the Cancer Center’s recruitment and retention of rising stars in cancer clinical research. Sahin is an example of a cancer physician and scientist who is developing and bringing forward new therapies for patients in Florida and beyond. The program was established to enhance the quality and competitiveness of cancer care in Florida, further a statewide biomedical research strategy, and capitalize on the educational opportunities. Through this program, the state provides funding to Florida cancer centers that have achieved designation from the National Cancer Institute and those working to achieve the designation.