Dr. Carbone is board-certified in Anatomic Pathology, holding the credential in both Italy in the United States. He specializes in mesothelioma research, as well as pleural pathology, and is recognized for his ground-breaking research into cancer genetics.
In addition to his innovative genomic research, Dr. Carbone is an accomplished oncologist who teaches at two medical hospitals in Hawaii. He attributes his successful career to a “combination of hard work, good luck, and great collaborations with friends and colleagues.”
Dr. Carbone has won several prestigious awards and received an honorary Knight of the Republic of Italy title because of his notable contributions to science and medicine.
Dr. Carbone is also a self-proclaimed food lover who enjoys cooking. He has used his prowess in the kitchen as a fundraising tool, bringing more than $25 Million in cancer research funding.
Dr. Carbone is fluent in Italian, Spanish, and English.
Dr. Carbone’s Location
University of Hawaii Cancer Center
701 Ilalo Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Dr. Carbone’s Career Highlights
- Discovered a gene and protein that leads to mesothelioma being passed through families
- Won the Pioneer Award from the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
- Director of thoracic oncology at University of Hawaii Cancer Center
- Former director of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, which he transformed into an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center
Dr. Carbone’s Background
Dr. Michele Carbone was born in Rome, Italy, where he received his MD and a PhD in Human Pathology from the La Spienza Medical School. He completed his residency in Anatomic Pathology in 1986 and was board-certified in Rome in 1988. He worked as a scientist and professor over the next decade, working at La Spienza University, NICHD-NIH in Bethesda, and then the University of Chicago.
While instructing at The University of Chicago, Dr. Carbone also studied as a resident and earned his U.S. board-certification in Anatomic Pathology in 1998. Dr. Carbone then worked at Loyola University in Chicago for several years, eventually becoming the director of the thoracic oncology program in 2005.
In 2006, Dr. Carbone moved to Honolulu and became the University of Hawaii Cancer Center’s director of thoracic oncology. He also became a faculty of the molecular biosciences division and a professor in the department of pathology at John A. Burns School of Medicine. He still holds all three of these positions over 10 years later.
From 2008 to 2014, Dr. Carbone was also the director of the entire University of Hawaii Cancer Center, transforming the center from a struggling facility into an NCI-designated comprehensive care center. He then stepped down from the position but remains at the cancer center as a tenured member of the research faculty.
“Now my focus is on finding a cure for cancer.” —Dr. Carbone.
Dr. Carbone’s Career Accomplishments
Dr. Carbone has had an extraordinary career, most of which has been dedicated to researching and understanding mesothelioma. For 14 years, Dr. Carbone studied a mesothelioma epidemic that occurred in Cappadocia, Turkey, researching his hypothesis that a person’s genetics could make them more susceptible to mesothelioma. He accurately believed that certain familial genetic mutations increase the likelihood that someone will get mesothelioma if exposed to carcinogenic mineral fibers, such as asbestos.
Dr. Carbone and his colleague Dr. Haining Yang ultimately discovered the mesothelioma gene, BAP1, which can mutate and cause epidemics of mesothelioma in specific families. After discovering the BAP1 gene, Dr. Carbone and Dr. Yang identified the protein HMBG1 as the protein that allows mesothelioma to grow. These significant genetic discoveries are a significant step forward towards an eventual cure for mesothelioma, and Dr. Carbone received the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s prestigious Pioneer Award in recognition of this work.
In addition, Dr. Carbone researched erionite, a natural mineral similar to asbestos, and revealed its role as a carcinogen that can lead to mesothelioma. In North Dakota, Dr. Carbone discovered erionite levels as high as those found in Cappadocia in the roads and was able to convince the state to repave those roads. Dr. Carbone has since identified additional sources of potential carcinogens and helped create the “International Conference on Mesothelioma in Populations Exposed to Naturally Occurring Asbestiform Fibers” to help the nation better understand and eliminate the use of these carcinogens.
Dr. Carbone has been recognized throughout the world for his significant contributions towards mesothelioma research. In 2014, he spoke at MD Anderson Cancer Center’s highly prestigious Grand Rounds lecture, has been a keynote speaker or lecturer at countless events, and has personally hosted mesothelioma symposiums.
Awards & Honours
- Pioneer Award – Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
- INNOVATOR Award for International Collaboration in Cancer Research – Landon Foundation
- Knight of the Republic of Italy (Cavaliere della Repubblica)
- National Institutes of Health Fogarty Fellowship
Dr. Carbone’s Current Work
Dr. Michele Carbone is currently the director of thoracic oncology at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center in Honolulu. He is also a member of the cancer biology program and holds two academic titles: a research professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and a professor in the Department of Pathology at John A. Burns School of Medicine.
Dr. Carbone’s primary focus is on cancer research, where he is studying genetics and pathology in hopes of finding a cure for mesothelioma and other forms of cancer. He is also a consulting reviewer for numerous scientific journals, including the American Journal of Pathology, the International Journal of Cancer, and the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry.
Dr. Carbone is a member of several professional organizations, including:
- Chair – Mesothelioma Task Force, International Association to Study Lung Cancer (IASLC)
- Medical Officer – Consulate of Italy in San Francisco for the State of Hawaii
- Member – American Association for Cancer Research
- Member – American Society for Investigative Pathology
- Member – European Academy of Tumor Immunology (EATI)
- Member – Academia Cosentina, Italy
- Former Medical Officer – Italian Embassy in the USA
Notable Work by Dr. Carbone
In a ground-breaking article, Dr. Carbone and his colleagues outline the results of their innovative research into the genetic mutation that predisposes specific family groups to mesothelioma. Families that have the gene BAP1 and are exposed to environmental carcinogens are significantly more likely to get mesothelioma and melanoma than those who don’t have the gene.
The impact of this genetic mutation was particularly apparent in Cappadocia, Turkey, where Dr. Carbone had first observed mesothelioma epidemics wiping out entire family groups at a time. It was here that he researched the link between family genetics and mesothelioma, and eventually discovered the BAP1 gene. As a result of these findings, early detection and prevention programs have been developed.
This extraordinarily influential piece of research has since been cited in nearly 200 additional scholarly articles, helping shape the entire world’s understanding of mesothelioma genetics. The discovery also led to Dr. Carbone receiving the “Pioneer Award” for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.
Dr. Carbone’s Healing Philosophy
Dr. Carbone is an advocate for multidisciplinary collaborative team research, crediting the approach for his research success. His studies combine fieldwork, laboratory research, and teamwork, and often involves scientists from numerous countries. Dr. Carbone’s research has reviewed mesothelioma from numerous disciplines including pathology, genetics, molecular biology, geology, and mineralogy.