Dr. Raya Saab is a Professor at the Department Pediatrics, Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplant at Stanford. She is currently section chief of Pediatric Oncology, and her clinical expertise is in pediatric sarcoma and retinoblastoma. Dr. Saab's laboratory research aims to understand oncogenic pathways involved in tumor progression and invasion to identify novel therapeutic targets, focusing on the pediatric soft tissue tumor rhabdomyosarcoma.
Dr. Saab completed her undergraduate and medical school studies at the American University of Beirut, in Lebanon, then residency in Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, and fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee. In 2007, she joined the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon for a faculty position, in the Physician-Scientist track at the School of Medicine. At the AUB, Dr. Saab led her laboratory research group focusing on cellular senescence in tumor suppression and on rhabdomyosarcoma biology, mentoring multiple undergraduate and graduate students.
The Saab laboratory utilizes cellular and murine models of cancer, and employs cellular and molecular biology techniques as well as microvesicle manipulation and analysis, to interrogate molecular signaling pathways in tumor initiation and progression. Their recent work has identified a role for rhabdomyosarcoma-derived exosomes in paracrine signaling and tissue invasion, and their ongoing investigations center on targeting specific exosome cargo, as well as better understanding the role of different components of the tumor microenvironment in paracrine signaling that mediates tumor invasion and dissemination. They hope that insights from these investigations will translate into novel and more effective approaches to treat this aggressive childhood tumor.