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

MD, McGill University
MSc, Boston University

Dr. Spira is a Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Bioinformatics, and the Alexander Graham Bell Professor in Health Care Entrepreneurship at Boston University. He is founding Chief of the Division of Computational Biomedicine in the Department of Medicine and Director of the Boston University – Boston Medical Center Cancer Center. He is also an attending physician in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Boston Medical Center.

Dr. Spira obtained his MD from McGill University in Montreal, and completed his Internal medicine residency at the University of Toronto and his fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at BMC. During his fellowship, Dr. Spira obtained a master’s degree in Bioinformatics from Boston University.

Since his 2003 appointment to the BU faculty, Dr. Spira has built a translational research program that focuses on genomic alterations associated with smoking-related lung disease, leading to a molecular test for the early detection of lung cancer that has successfully translated into the clinic (PerceptaTM) as well as a novel therapeutic for COPD that is in preclinical development. His research program is based on the paradigm that smoking and other inhaled carcinogens create a ‘field of molecular injury’ in epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract. By sampling these relatively accessible airway cells, Dr. Spira’s lab has developed novel diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers for lung cancer and COPD as well as a non-invasive approach for measuring the physiological response to a number of inhaled environmental exposures. He has co-founded both a molecular diagnostics company and a pharmaceutical company in order to translate these tools from “bench to bedside”.

He serves as Principal Investigator on grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI); National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD), and has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Spira was a permanent member of the NIH’s Cancer Biomarker Study Section (CBSS) and currently serves as Senior Editor at Cancer Prevention Research as well as Associate Editor at the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. He was elected a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2010 and a member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP) in 2017.

Boston University School of Medicine
Computational Biomedicine

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

Boston University School of Medicine
Cancer Research Center

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
Pulmonary, Allergy, Sleep & Critical Care Medicine

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

Intercept lung cancer through immune, imaging & molecular evaluation-InTime
03/01/2018 - 02/28/2022 (PI)
American Association for Cancer Research

Molecular and Imaging biomarkers for early lung cancer detection in the setting of Indeterminate Pulmonary Nodules
09/23/2016 - 08/31/2021 (Multi-PI)
PI: Avrum Spira, MD
NIH/National Cancer Institute

The Boston University-UCLA Lung Cancer Biomarker Development Lab
09/20/2016 - 08/31/2021 (PI)
NIH/National Cancer Institute

Institutional Research Grant
01/01/2018 - 12/31/2020 (PI)
American Cancer Society, Inc.

Integrated molecular, cellular and imaging characterization of screen-detected lung cancer
09/16/2015 - 08/31/2020 (PI)
University of California, Los Angeles NIH NCI

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

Clinical Study of Effect of Combined Treatment of Aspirin and Zileuton on Biomarkers on Tobacco-Related Carcinogenesis in Current Smokers
02/07/2018 - 08/31/2019 (PI)
Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona NIH NCI

Detection of Early Lung Cancer Among Military Personnel (DECAMP)
09/30/2011 - 03/29/2019 (PI)
Department of Defense/Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity

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

mRNA expression array analysis among subjects exposed to outdoor ambient air pollution
09/22/2017 - 09/21/2018 (PI)
NIH/National Cancer Institute

Showing 10 of 38 results. Show All Results

Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
2017 Molecular and Imaging Biomarkers for Early Lung Cancer Detection in the Setting of Indeterminate Pulmonary Nodules 5R01CA210360-02
2017 The Boston University-UCLA Lung Cancer Biomarker Development Lab 5U01CA214182-02
2017 Impact of smoking and its cessation on systemic and airway immune activation 5R01DA042685-02
2017 Integrated Molecular, Cellular, and Imaging Characterization of Screen-Detected Lung Cancer 5U01CA196408-03
2017 Integrated Molecular, Cellular, and Imaging Characterization of Screen-Detected Lung Cancer 3U01CA196408-03S1
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
Showing 10 of 50 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. Tasena H, Faiz A, Timens W, Noordhoek J, Hylkema MN, Gosens R, Hiemstra PS, Spira A, Postma DS, Tew GW, Grimbaldeston MA, van den Berge M, Heijink IH, Brandsma CA. microRNA-mRNA regulatory networks underlying chronic mucus hypersecretion in COPD. Eur Respir J. 2018 Sep; 52(3). PMID: 30072506.
  2. Reyfman PA, Washko GR, Dransfield MT, Spira A, Han MK, Kalhan R. Defining Impaired Respiratory Health. A Paradigm Shift for Pulmonary Medicine. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018 Aug 15; 198(4):440-446. PMID: 29624449.
  3. Billatos E, Faiz A, Gesthalter Y, LeClerc A, Alekseyev YO, Xiao X, Liu G, Ten Hacken NHT, Heijink IH, Timens W, Brandsma CA, Postma DS, van den Berge M, Spira A, Lenburg ME. Impact of acute exposure to cigarette smoke on airway gene expression. Physiol Genomics. 2018 Sep 01; 50(9):705-713.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29932825.
  4. Spira A, Coleman D. Impact of an Interdisciplinary Computational Research Section in a Department of Medicine: An 8-Year Perspective. Am J Med. 2018 Jul; 131(7):846-851.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29601802.
  5. Pine PS, Lund SP, Parsons JR, Vang LK, Mahabal AA, Cinquini L, Kelly SC, Kincaid H, Crichton DJ, Spira A, Liu G, Gower AC, Pass HI, Goparaju C, Dubinett SM, Krysan K, Stass SA, Kukuruga D, Van Keuren-Jensen K, Courtright-Lim A, Thompson KL, Rosenzweig BA, Sorbara L, Srivastava S, Salit ML. Summarizing performance for genome scale measurement of miRNA: reference samples and metrics. BMC Genomics. 2018 03 06; 19(1):180.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29510677.
  6. Billatos E, Vick JL, Lenburg ME, Spira AE. The Airway Transcriptome as a Biomarker for Early Lung Cancer Detection. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Jul 01; 24(13):2984-2992.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29463557.
  7. Dubinett SM, Spira AE. Impact of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease on Immune-based Treatment for Lung Cancer. Moving toward Disease Interception. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2018 Feb 01; 197(3):278-280. PMID: 29072842.
  8. Kantrowitz J, Sinjab A, Xu L, McDowell TL, Sivakumar S, Lang W, Nunomura-Nakamura S, Fukuoka J, Nemer G, Darwiche N, Chami H, Tfayli A, Wistuba II, Scheet P, Fujimoto J, Spira AE, Kadara H. Genome-Wide Gene Expression Changes in the Normal-Appearing Airway during the Evolution of Smoking-Associated Lung Adenocarcinoma. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2018 Apr; 11(4):237-248. PMID: 29382653.
  9. Boudewijn IM, Faiz A, Steiling K, van der Wiel E, Telenga ED, Hoonhorst SJM, Ten Hacken NHT, Brandsma CA, Kerstjens HAM, Timens W, Heijink IH, Jonker MR, de Bruin HG, Sebastiaan Vroegop J, Pasma HR, Boersma WG, Wielders P, van den Elshout F, Mansour K, Spira A, Lenburg ME, Guryev V, Postma DS, van den Berge M. Nasal gene expression differentiates COPD from controls and overlaps bronchial gene expression. Respir Res. 2017 12 21; 18(1):213.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29268739.
  10. Obeidat M, Nie Y, Fishbane N, Li X, Bossé Y, Joubert P, Nickle DC, Hao K, Postma DS, Timens W, Sze MA, Shannon CP, Hollander Z, Ng RT, McManus B, Miller BE, Rennard S, Spira A, Hackett TL, Lam W, Lam S, Faner R, Agusti A, Hogg JC, Sin DD, Paré PD. Integrative Genomics of Emphysema-Associated Genes Reveals Potential Disease Biomarkers. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2017 Oct; 57(4):411-418. PMID: 28459279.
Showing 10 of 129 results. Show More

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

Bar chart showing 129 publications over 17 distinct years, with a maximum of 18 publications in 2016

In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

airway epithelium
airway gene expression
cancer biomarkers
lung cancer
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