Ciunci serves as interim chief of hematology oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.
She has clinical expertise in asbestosis, mesothelioma, non-small cell lung cancer, thymus cancer, diaphragm tumors and thoracic cancer.
As a clinician seeing patients, she has maintained a strong interest in research and helping develop new and better methods of treating rare cancers such as mesothelioma.
Ciunci is the principle investigator in a phase I clinical trial for mesothelioma patients that is evaluating the safety and anti-tumor activity of MGD009, a novel immunotherapy drug designed to target specific antigens in several cancers.
She is working on another clinical trial studying the tolerability, safety and anti-tumor activity of Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in patients whose lung cancer has returned after radiation therapy.
Keytruda has been highly effective for a small percentage of patients with pleural mesothelioma, although it has not been approved for that disease by the FDA.
Ciunci’s research covers lung cancer, several other thoracic malignancies, and head and neck cancers.
The Journal of Clinical Oncology has published two multi-center studies in which she was the lead author. One of those studies involved patterns and effectiveness of surveillance after curative intent surgery in non-small cell lung cancer.
Mesothelioma Program Is Highly-Acclaimed
The highly-acclaimed Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program at Penn Medicine includes specialists from multiple disciplines, allowing it to offer more treatment options than most other centers.
Those specialists include thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists such as Ciunci, radiologists, pulmonologists and pathologists.
The coordination within the program makes it easier to turn the latest research advancements into novel treatments, allowing patients to benefit.
Ciunci also serves the Head and Neck Cancer Program, one of the largest on the East Coast, and the Lung Cancer Program, which offers advanced surgical options for both small cell and non-small cell lung cancer.
She graduated from the Temple University School of Medicine. She did both her fellowship and residency at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, where she now serves as an assistant professor of clinical medicine.
Ciunci treats patients at both Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.