Avrum Spira, MD
Alexander Graham Bell Professor in Health Care Entrepreneurship
Boston University School of Medicine
Dept of Medicine
Computational Biomedicine Section

MD, McGill University
MSc, Boston University



Dr. Spira is a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, and Pathology and Bioinformatics and is founding Chief of the Division of Computational Biomedicine in the Department of Medicine at BUSM. He attends in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Boston Medical Center and directs the Translational Bioinformatics Program in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Boston University.

Dr. Spira’s laboratory research interests focus on applying genomic and bioinformatics tools to the translational study of lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD), with the ultimate objective of developing novel diagnostics and therapeutics that can directly impact clinical care. He is funded as a Principal Investigator through three institutes at the NIH including the NCI, NHLBI, and NIEHS as well as the Department of Defense. His research program centers around the concept that inhaled toxins create a “field of injury” in all exposed airway epithelial cells, and that by measuring gene expression in a relatively pure population of these cells, one can develop a gene-expression profile that reflects the physiological response to and damage from the toxin. The importance of the “field-of-injury” concept is that it allows for the detection of lung disease in tissues that are more readily assayed than the diseased lung itself.

His lab has characterized the impact of cigarette smoking on intra-thoracic (lobar bronchi) and extra-thoracic (mouth and nasal) airway epithelial cell gene expression, and he has leveraged this approach to develop a bronchial airway gene-expression biomarker for the early detection of lung cancer that is currently being validated in a multicenter clinical trial. His lab has also extended this “field of injury” paradigm to the premalignant and lung cancer screening settings, potentially allowing personalized genomic approaches to lung cancer chemoprophylaxis and therapy. This disease-specific airway “field of injury” concept is also being applied to Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD), to better understand the molecular diversity of COPD, both for developing subtype-targeted therapies and for developing biomarkers that would allow identification of biologically distinct forms of COPD. Most significantly, his lab has identified airway gene-expression biomarkers that can be used to monitor disease activity and response to therapy in COPD, and they have connected gene expression signatures of disease in clinical samples to in vitro small molecule perturbations to move from bedside to bench and identify new uses for existing drugs as potential COPD therapeutics. Finally, we are exploring gene-expression profiles in nasal and buccal epithelium as biomarkers of the physiological response to inhaled toxins and their potential role as lung disease biomarkers in large-scale population studies.

Professor
Boston University School of Medicine
Medicine
Computational Biomedicine Section

Section Chief of Medicine in Computational Biomedicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Medicine
Computational Biomedicine Section

Director
Boston University School of Medicine
Cancer Research Center


Professor
Boston University School of Medicine
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine


Mentor for Graduate Medical Students
Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences


Active Staff Privileges
Boston Medical Center
Medicine
Pulmonary, Allergy, Sleep & Critical Care Medicine Section

Member
Boston University
Bioinformatics Graduate Program



2011-2011 ASCI: Elected member ASCI
2010-2010 Uniting Against Lung Cancer: Caine Halter Hope Now Award, Uniting Against Lung Cancer


DECAMP (Immunology)
12/01/2016 - 11/17/2020 (PI)
Janssen Research & Development, LLC

New England Centenarian Study
07/01/2016 - 06/30/2020 (Co-PI)
PI: Thomas T. Perls, MD, MPH, FACP
The William M. Wood Foundation

Correlating Histological, Radiological, and Gene Expression Patterns in the Lungs of IPF Patients
10/16/2015 - 10/15/2018 (PI)
Genentech, Inc.

Characterising the transcriptomic alterations associated with structural progression of small airway disease
12/01/2014 - 11/30/2017 (PI)
RespiVert, Ltd.

The Premalignant Cancer Genome Atlas (PCGA) for Squamous Cell Lining Carcinoma
03/01/2013 - 09/30/2017 (PI)
Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Whole genome miRNA expression scan among workers exposed to diesel exhaust
09/30/2016 - 09/29/2017 (PI)
NIH/National Cancer Institute

Detection of Early Lung Cancer Among Military Personnel (DECAMP)
09/30/2011 - 09/29/2017 (PI)
Department of Defense/Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity

Molecular and Imaging biomarkers for early lung cancer detection in the setting of Indeterminate Pulmonary Nodu
09/23/2016 - 08/31/2017 (PI)
NIH/National Cancer Institute
1R01CA210360-01

The Boston University-UCLA Lung Cancer Biomarker Development Lab
09/20/2016 - 08/31/2017 (PI)
NIH/National Cancer Institute
1U01CA214182-01

Integrated molecular, cellular and imaging characterization of screen-detected lung cancer
09/16/2015 - 08/31/2017 (PI)
University of California, Los Angeles NIH NCI
5U01CA196408-02

Showing 10 of 34 results. Show All Results



Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
2016 Molecular and Imaging Biomarkers for Early Lung Cancer Detection in the Setting of Indeterminate Pulmonary Nodules 1R01CA210360-01
2016 The Boston University-UCLA Lung Cancer Biomarker Development Lab 1U01CA214182-01
2016 Impact of smoking and its cessation on systemic and airway immune activation 1R01DA042685-01
2016 Integrated Molecular, Cellular, and Imaging Characterization of Screen-Detected Lung Cancer 5U01CA196408-02
2016 Integrative Omics to Discover Molecular Determinants of COPD 4R01HL118542-04 1
2015 Integrated Molecular, Cellular, and Imaging Characterization of Screen-Detected Lung Cancer 1U01CA196408-01
2015 The UCLA - Boston University Lung Cancer Biomarker Development Laboratory 3U01CA152751-05S2 12
2014 Integrative Omics to Discover Molecular Determinants of COPD 5R01HL118542-02 1
2014 Molecular biomarkers of airway and lung linking COPD and Lung Cancer 5R01CA164783-04 10
2014 The UCLA - Boston University Lung Cancer Biomarker Development Laboratory 5U01CA152751-05 12
Showing 10 of 45 results. Show All Results
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

  1. Beane J, Mazzilli SA, Tassinari AM, Liu G, Zhang X, Liu H, Dy Buncio A, Dhillon SS, Platero SJ, Lenburg ME, Reid ME, Lam S, Spira AE. Detecting the Presence and Progression of Premalignant Lung Lesions via Airway Gene Expression. Clin Cancer Res. 2017 May 22.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28533227.
  2. Gold DR, Adamkiewicz G, Arshad SH, Celedón JC, Chapman MD, Chew GL, Cook DN, Custovic A, Gehring U, Gern JE, Johnson CC, Kennedy S, Koutrakis P, Leaderer B, Mitchell H, Litonjua AA, Mueller GA, O''Connor GT, Ownby D, Phipatanakul W, Persky V, Perzanowski MS, Ramsey CD, Salo PM, Schwaninger JM, Sordillo JE, Spira A, Suglia SF, Togias A, Zeldin DC, Matsui EC. NIAID, NIEHS, NHLBI, and MCAN Workshop Report: The indoor environment and childhood asthma-implications for home environmental intervention in asthma prevention and management. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017 May 10.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28502823.
  3. Vachani A, Sequist LV, Spira A. AJRCCM: 100-Year Anniversary. The Shifting Landscape for Lung Cancer: Past, Present, and Future. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2017 May 01; 195(9):1150-1160. PMID: 28459327.
  4. Spira A, Yurgelun MB, Alexandrov L, Rao A, Bejar R, Polyak K, Giannakis M, Shilatifard A, Finn OJ, Dhodapkar M, Kay NE, Braggio E, Vilar E, Mazzilli SA, Rebbeck TR, Garber JE, Velculescu VE, Disis ML, Wallace DC, Lippman SM. Precancer Atlas to Drive Precision Prevention Trials. Cancer Res. 2017 Apr 01; 77(7):1510-1541.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28373404; DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-2346;.
  5. Vasilescu DM, Phillion AB, Tanabe N, Kinose D, Paige DF, Kantrowitz JJ, Liu G, Liu H, Fishbane N, Verleden SE, Vanaudenaerde BM, Lenburg M, Stevenson CS, Spira A, Cooper JD, Hackett TL, Hogg JC. Nondestructive cryomicro-CT imaging enables structural and molecular analysis of human lung tissue. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2017 Jan 01; 122(1):161-169.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27856720; DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00838.2016;.
  6. Rahman SM, Ji X, Zimmerman LJ, Li M, Harris BK, Hoeksema MD, Trenary IA, Zou Y, Qian J, Slebos RJ, Beane J, Spira A, Shyr Y, Eisenberg R, Liebler DC, Young JD, Massion PP. The airway epithelium undergoes metabolic reprogramming in individuals at high risk for lung cancer. JCI Insight. 2016 Nov 17; 1(19):e88814. PMID: 27882349.
  7. Kusko RL, Brothers JF, Tedrow J, Pandit K, Huleihel L, Perdomo C, Liu G, Juan-Guardela B, Kass D, Zhang S, Lenburg M, Martinez F, Quackenbush J, Sciurba F, Limper A, Geraci M, Yang I, Schwartz DA, Beane J, Spira A, Kaminski N. Integrated Genomics Reveals Convergent Transcriptomic Networks Underlying Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2016 Oct 15; 194(8):948-960.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27104832.
  8. Moses E, Wang T, Corbett S, Jackson GR, Drizik E, Perdomo C, Perdomo C, Kleerup E, Brooks D, O''Connor G, Dubinett S, Hayden P, Lenburg ME, Spira A. Molecular Impact of Electronic Cigarette Aerosol Exposure in Human Bronchial Epithelium. Toxicol Sci. 2017 Jan; 155(1):248-257.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27701119; DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfw198;.
  9. Lam S, Mandrekar SJ, Gesthalter Y, Allen Ziegler KL, Seisler DK, Midthun DE, Mao JT, Aubry MC, McWilliams A, Sin DD, Shaipanich T, Liu G, Johnson E, Bild A, Lenburg ME, Ionescu DN, Mayo J, Yi JE, Tazelaar H, Harmsen WS, Smith J, Spira AE, Beane J, Limburg PJ, Szabo E. A Randomized Phase IIb Trial of myo-Inositol in Smokers with Bronchial Dysplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2016 Dec; 9(12):906-914.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27658890.
  10. Spira A, Disis ML, Schiller JT, Vilar E, Rebbeck TR, Bejar R, Ideker T, Arts J, Yurgelun MB, Mesirov JP, Rao A, Garber J, Jaffee EM, Lippman SM. Leveraging premalignant biology for immune-based cancer prevention. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Sep 27; 113(39):10750-8. PMID: 27638202; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1608077113;.
Showing 10 of 111 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 111 publications over 16 distinct years, with a maximum of 17 publications in 2016

YearPublications
20022
20033
20045
20053
20063
20075
20084
20097
20108
20118
20127
201312
201411
201512
201617
20174
In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

airway epithelium
airway gene expression
bioinformatics
cancer biomarkers
COPD
gene-expression
genomics
lung cancer
smoking
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