HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at London, UK or Virtually from your home or work.
ICC 2023

Yan Leyfman

Yan Leyfman, Speaker at Cancer Conferences
Icahn School of Medicine, United States
Title : Severe SARS-CoV-2 & Cancer: Unlocking the immunology with promising therapeutic interventions


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness caused by betacoronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has broad clinical presentations ranging from asymptomatic to fatal outcomes. Due to their immunocompromised status, cancer patients are at an increased risk for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. Given the diverse clinical presentations, we developed a model to explain the pathogenesis of severe SARS-CoV-2 and its immunological interplay with cancer. Since SARS-CoV-2 causes multi-organ dysfunction through IL-6-mediated inflammation and hypoxia, while malignancy causes apoptosis through hypoxia-induced cellular metabolic alterations, we propose a mechanism by which both conditions resulted in IL-6 upregulation causing increased cytokine release and systemic injury with clinical trial support. 

Due to the limited therapeutic interventions for severe COVID-19 especially in the immunocompromised such as cancer patients, we propose the use of a stem cell therapy that has yielded promising efficacy in COVID-19 patients with severe disease. This therapy, mesenchymal stem cells, possesses regenerative, antiviral and immunomodulatory properties that can inhibit viral replication, while dampening the cytokine response with resulting systemic inflammation and injury. Clinically, it has demonstrated a 91% overall survival and 100% survival in patients younger than 85 years old within a month after treatment with results holding steady for 6 months. Thus, cancer patients can quickly contain SARS-CoV-2 with limited interruptions to their treatment schedule.

Audience Take Away:

  • This presentation will feature our cohesive models for the mechanism of action for SARS-CoV-2 followed by the first proposed mechanism to explain the interplay between cancer & severe SARS-CoV-2.
  • This presentation will explain and highlight the efficacy, supported by clinical trial results, of the most effective therapies against severe SARS-CoV-2.
  • Novel therapies with multi-disease potential including mesenchymal stem cells and exosomes will be discussed.
  • This presentation will drive great investment into cellular and immunotherapy research to further finetune their efficacy to treat more disease.


Dr. Yan Leyfman, MD, has been recognized as one of the top international researchers in oncology by ASH and ASCO. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was recruited as the Director of the Immunology Division of the Global COVID-19 Taskforce, which produced one of the first mechanisms for SARS-CoV-2 and COVI-Flu along with therapeutic interventions for both. In 2021, Dr. Leyfman presented the first mechanism to explain the interplay between cancer and COVID-19 at the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting. His work has been published as the cover article in the journal, Shock, and in the textbook, Insights on a Post-COVID World.