Northwell/CSHL cancer center draws an ace

Executive decision: Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling and CSHL President Bruce Stillman (back, from left) are pleased with the latest addition to their joint cancer center's leadership team.

An internationally renowned cancer expert will help lead Northwell Health and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s joint cancer-research initiative.

Oncologist Robert Maki, known primarily as a leading sarcoma physician and researcher, will direct the Center for New Cancer Therapies at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute. The institute is a strategic affiliation between the New Hyde Park-based health system and CSHL, established in 2015 to accelerate cancer research and the development of new therapies.

Robert Maki: Cancer innovator.

As director, Maki – who heads experimental oncology and hematology therapeutics at multiple Northwell Health hospitals – will oversee a growing portfolio of clinical research and unique therapies for all cancers, with an eye on new cutting-edge treatments.

Maki – who boasts extensive experience in the development of novel therapies for soft-tissue and bone sarcomas – will also oversee the expansion of Northwell Health’s basic sarcoma cancer research program in collaboration with CSHL.

As part of that effort, CSHL and Northwell’s academic oncologists and clinicians will pursue “bench-to-bedside research and clinical trials” to improve outcomes against sarcoma and other aggressive cancers, the health system said in a statement.

In Maki, who is also a professor of hematology and oncology at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, the Northwell Health Cancer Institute has the perfect person to lead its new-therapies programs, according to Lawrence Smith, Northwell’s physician-in-chief and dean of the Hofstra University medical school.

Noting Maki’s “lifelong commitment to finding a cure for sarcoma,” Smith said the esteemed oncologist’s arrival marks “an exciting time in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory-Northwell Health strategic collaboration.”

“This enables us to focus our expertise on developing new clinical trials and treatment options more quickly to help patients fighting sarcoma and other complex cancers,” the dean added.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory President Bruce Stillman called Maki “an outstanding clinician-scientist” who will effectively bridge researchers at the two institutions “to advance cancer treatment.”

Maki’s Center for New Cancer Therapies will “facilitate the ability to translate the outstanding basic science at CSHL into the clinic, enabling assessment of the effectiveness of new therapies in patients,” Stillman said.

With more than 25 years of clinical and research experience, Maki the heralded researcher has published more than 100 articles on sarcoma treatment and basic science research, while Maki the physician treats patients with all types of sarcomas, including connective tissue cancers attacking bone, cartilage, muscle, fat and other soft tissue.

The oncologist – who earned an MD and a PhD in immunology and molecular biology from Weill Cornell Medical College – joined Northwell Health from the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, where he was medical director of the Sarcoma Cancer Program in the Tisch Cancer Institute and chief of Mount Sinai’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Division. He previously served as co-director of the Adult Sarcoma Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.