York doubles as a physician/scientist in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Hematology and Oncology. Her laboratory research has focused on genetics and chemotherapy-induced DNA damage by a defective genomic stability pathway in many tumors.
She also serves as the associate director of the Vanderbilt Medical Scientist Training Program, where she works with upcoming leaders in biomedical research.
York arrived in 2012 after more than a decade at Duke University, where she specialized in lung cancer and was also involved in its Medical Scientist Training Program. York completed both her internal medicine residency and oncology fellowship at Duke.
She earned her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Iowa. Her doctorate was in molecular cell biology.
Leading Clinical Trials in Cancer Treatment
York plays a significant role in the robust clinical trial program at Vanderbilt, where some of the latest innovative treatments are being studied. She serves as the lead investigator in three clinical trials involving lung cancer.
A phase III trial is studying the effectiveness of erlotinib hydrochloride with non-small cell lung cancer that has been surgically removed. The hope is that the drug can stop any regrowth by blocking certain enzymes that encourage it.
Another phase III trial is using genetic testing on patients whose non-small cell lung cancer has been surgically removed. The belief is that by identifying certain genetic changes, treatment can be more personalized and effective.
Her third clinical trial with non-small cell lung cancer patients is examining the use of the drug crizotinib as a growth inhibitor of a particular protein that fuels tumors marked by a gene mutation.
Improvements in lung cancer treatment often translate into promising research avenues for mesothelioma treatment.