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Sanford A. Stass, MD

Academic Title:

Professor

Primary Appointment:

Pathology

Secondary Appointment(s):

Medicine, Medical and Research Technology

Location:

10 South Pine Street, Room 730

Phone (Primary):

410-706-7073

Fax:

410-706-8414

Education and Training

  • University of California at Los Angeles, BA, 1965
  • University of Missouri, MD, 1971
  • Residency, National Regional Medical Center, Pathology, 1975 
  • Residency, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Pathology, 1976  

Biosketch

Dr. Stass is a full-time faculty member of the Department of Pathology and the Department of Medical & Research Technology, Maryland’s largest medical laboratory science (medical technology) program, offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees, and opportunities for professional certification.

Dr. Stass started in 1994 as the Vice Chairman for Hospital Pathology in the Department of Pathology and Director of the University of Maryland Medical System's Laboratories of Pathology and served as Interim Chair of the Department of Pathology beginning in July 1998 and served as Chair of the Department since 2003. He currently serves as Medical Director of the UMMC Laboratories of Pathology (CLIA/CAP/AABB/ASHI accredited), which provides a full range of contemporary laboratory testing services for inpatients and outpatients throughout UMMS and UMMC. The Laboratories of Pathology also provide extensive reference laboratory and specialty testing support for clinical trials, other regional hospitals, and non-hospital-based health care organizations. In addition, Dr. Stass has served since 1998 as President and Medical Director of the University of Maryland Pathology Associates, PA. In 2002, Dr. Stass was appointed as the Interim Chair of the Department of Medical & Research Technology and became Chair in 2009.

Dr. Stass has had an extensive career as a researcher in biomarker development and validation, serving as principal investigator since 2005 on a National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute-funded grant entitled, University of Maryland Baltimore Biomarker Research Laboratory. He will continue to be NIH/NCI funded until August 31, 2027, based on his current two grants as Co-Principal Investigator.

Dr. Stass is widely known for his major contributions in the molecular biology and immunologic characterizations of leukemias and lymphomas, including identification and clinical application of novel biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic monitoring. Specifically, he pioneered the identification of the abnormality in a type of leukemia called pre-B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was the first to use a chromosomal change as a sign to detect very small amounts of the disease left after treatment in lymphoma. Also, he was one of the first to amplify a specific gene message as a marker for tiny amounts of remaining disease in chronic myeloid leukemia. He helped reveal the differences within acute leukemias, which was a significant advancement in understanding how cells commit to a certain path and for choosing the correct treatment. His current NIH/NCI grant funding is working toward the development and testing of promising new lung cancer biomarkers that use innovative technologies with application in an accredited diagnostic laboratory environment. He was also among the first to delineate the heterogeneity of acute leukemias (acute mixed lineage) important in defining markers of lineage commitment for therapy. A distinguished academic, Dr. Stass has published over 230 peer-reviewed articles.

Prior to coming to the UM SOM, Dr. Stass was Pathologist and Professor of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and before that served on the faculty of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was Director of the initial UMGCC Cancer Center/Program in Oncology 1997-2003. He was Pl on the first NIH/NCI grant given to the Cancer Center which was a planning grant prior to applying for a Clinical or Comprehensive Cancer Center. Also, as Director of the UMGCC Cancer Center in conjunction with David Ramsey, President, UMB, Morton Rappaport, UMMS, CEO, and Donald Wilson, UMSOM Dean Emeritus, an address was prepared which he presented to all the members of the Maryland General Assembly and representatives of the Governor's Office. In 2000 the Maryland General Assembly created the Cigarette Restitution Fund (CRF) and the Cancer Center started to receive the funding, which has been sustained for a long period of time as consistent with the initial request.

At MD Anderson, he opened one of the first CLINCAP Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory for clinical testing and was Founding Member and Vice Chair, Molecular Pathology Resource Committee, College of American Pathologists to set molecular testing guidelines for all CUA/CAP laboratories.

During his career, he has had numerous professional affiliations, including Director and Founder, Molecular Diagnostics Associates, Molecular Oncology Testing, UT MD Anderson; Scientific Advisory Board, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Department of Defense; Chair, NIH/NCI/EDRN Collaboration. He was Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Hematopathology and Molecular Hematology; Co-Editor, Hematology Series, Founder and Editor, Diagnostic Pathology Series, Marcel Dekker Inc.; and as Member of the Editorial Board of Molecular Pathology. He continues to serve as Chair, Postmortem Examiners Commission, State of Maryland, and as a Member of the Editorial Board of Cancer Bio markers.

Dr. Stass received his BA Degree from UCLA and his MD Degree from the University of Missouri. He completed his residency programs in Pathology at both the National Regional Medical Center, San Diego, CA, and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Hematopathology, Molecular Genetics, Molecular Hematology, Molecular Diagnostics, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hematologic Malignancies, Lung Cancer, Biomarkers

Highlighted Publications

Jiang F, Todd NW, Qiu Q, Liu Z, Katz RL, Stass SA. Combined genetic analysis of sputum and computed tomography for noninvasive diagnosis of non-small-cell lung cancer. Lung Cancer. 2009 Oct;66(1):58-63. Epub 2009 Jan. 31.

Jiang F, Todd NW, Li R, Zhang H, Fang H, Stass SA. A panel of sputum-based genomic markers for early detection of lung cancer. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2010 Dec. 3(12):Epub 2010 Sep 23.

Gao L, Ma J, Mannoor K, Guarnera MA, Shetty A, Zhan M, Xing L, Stass SA, Jiang F. Genome-wide small nucleolar RNA expression analysis of lung cancer by next-generation deep sequencing. Int J Cancer. 2014 Aug 27.

Xing L, Su J, Guarnera M, Zhang H, Cai L, Zhou R, Stass SA, Jiang F. Sputum microRNA Biomarkers for Identifying Lung Cancer in Indeterminate Solitary Pulmonary Nodules. Clin Cancer Res January 15, 2015. 21:484-489; doi:10.1158/1078-0432. CCR-14-1873.

Ma J, Lin Y, Zhan M, Mann D, Stass SA, Jiang F. Differential miRNA expressions in peripheral blood mononuclear cells for diagnosis of lung cancer. Laboratory Investigation, 2015 Oct; 95(10):1197-1206. Doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2015.88. Epub 2015 Jul 6.

Su J, Liao J, Gao L, Shen J, Guarnera MA, Zhan M, Fang H, Stass SA, Jiang F.  Analysis of small nucleolar RNAs in sputum for lung cancer diagnosis. Oncotarget. 2016 Feb 2;7(5):5131-42. Doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.4219.

Additional Publication Citations

Sputum long non-coding RNA biomarkers for diagnosis of lung cancer. C Gupta, J Su, M Zhan, SA Stass, F Jiang. Cancer Biomarkers, 2019 26(2):219-227. doi: 10.3233/CBM-190161.

Rapid and sensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. JH Tsou, H Liu, SA Stass, F Jiang. Biomedicines, 2021 Feb 27;9(3):239. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9030239.

A pilot analysis of circulating cfRNA transcripts for the detection of lung cancer …, C McCracken, J Cornell, K Mullins, F Jiang, S Stass - Diagnostics, 2022 - mdpi.com 234. Utilizing MiSeq Sequencing to Detect Circulating microRNAs in Plasma for Improved Lung Cancer Diagnosis X Geng, JH Tsou, SA Stass, F Jiang - International Journal of Molecular …, 2023 - mdpi.com

Streptococcus pneumoniae promotes lung cancer development and progression …, J Deepak, P Dhilipkannah, NW Todd, SA Stass… - Iscience, 2023 - cell.com

Proof of Concept: Detection of cell free RNA from EDTA plasma in patients with lung cancer and non-cancer patients …, AC Shetty, F Jiang, R Christenson, S Stass – Clinical …, 2023 – Elsevier

Integrating miRNAs and Bacterial DNA for Early Detection of Lung Cancer …, E Pickering, V Holden, J Deepak, N Todd, S Stass… - medRxiv, 2023 – medrxiv.org

Research Interests

A major area of Dr. Stass' research investigation involves the molecular biology/genetic changes in cancer, hematopoietic neoplasia, and biomarkers in cancer. His basic research program has provided the basis for translational research, i.e., transfer of research into the clinic.

Dr. Stass is recognized nationally and internationally for his research in the molecular biology of hematopoietic neoplasia. He has published over 220 peer-reviewed articles. He is recognized for major contributions in the molecular biology and immunologic characterizations of leukemias and lymphomas, including identification and clinical application of novel biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic monitoring. He was the first to describe the t (1;19) (q23; p13) abnormality in pre-B ALL (Cell) and the first to amplify a chromosomal translocation (t14;132; q21) as a biomarker to detect minimal residual disease in lymphoma (Science) and one of the first to amplify the bcr-abl transcript as a marker to detect minimal residual disease in chronic myeloid leukemia (Blood). Dr. Stass was also among the first to delineate the heterogeneity of acute leukemias (acute mixed lineage and lineage switch leukemia) important in defining markers of lineage commitment for appropriate therapy.

Dr. Stass has extensive experience in biomarker development and validation and, as PI on an NIH/NCI funded grant (University of Maryland Baltimore Biomarker Research Laboratory), he is working toward the development and testing of promising new cancer biomarkers using innovative technologies with application in a certified diagnostic laboratory environment. 

Awards and Affiliations

  • Director and Founder, Molecular Diagnostics Associates, Molecular Oncology Testing, 1987-1992
  • Founding Member and Vice Chair, Molecular Pathology Resource Committee, College of American Pathologists, 1989-1995
  • Chair, Molecular Pathology Resource Committee, College of American Pathologists, 1995-1999
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Department of Defense, 1997-1999
  • Chair, Postmortem Examiners Commission, State of Maryland, 1998-Present
  • Chair, NIH/NCI/EDRN Collaboration and Publication Subcommittee, 2007-2010
  • Co-Chair, NIH/NCI/EDRN Communication and Workshop Subcommittee, 2010-2015
  • Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Hematopathology and Molecular Hematology, 1985-2001
  • Co-Editor, Hematology Series, Marcel Dekker Inc., 1987-2001
  • Editorial Board, Molecular Pathology, 1991-2000
  • Founder and Editor, Diagnostic Pathology Series, Marcel Dekker Inc., 1995-2001
  • Editorial Board, Cancer Biomarkers, 2008-Present

Grants and Contracts

03/21/2005-08/31/2022 Principal Investigator: Sanford A. Stass, MD
University of Maryland Baltimore Biomarker Reference Laboratory (UMB BRL) NIH/NCI, #5U24CA115091-15 $2,667,345

7/1/2022–6/30/2027 Principal Investigators: James Herman, MD (Contact PI) / Sanford A. Stass, MD
Optimizing Ultrasensitive DNA methylation detection for lung cancer and other malignancies NIH/NCI, $930,183

Previous Positions

  • Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1979-81
  • Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, 1981-84
  • Associate Member, Department of Pathology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 1981-1984
  • Pathologist and Professor of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Laboratory Medicine; Professor of Pathology, Division of Pathology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1984-1994