Dr. Muneesh Tewari, a scientist in the Hutchinson Center's Human Biology and Clinical Research divisions, will receive $750,000 over three years for his personalized medicine research from Stand Up To Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, whose scientific partner is the American Association for Cancer Research.
Tewari's grant is part of Stand Up To Cancer's announcement of nearly $10 million in funding to support high-risk/high-reward cancer research by 13 young scientists nationwide.
Personalized medicine has the potential to tailor treatments to a patient's individual tumor while sparing healthy tissue. This requires obtaining the molecular profile of the tumor to identify the changes or abnormalities that have occurred. Currently, the only way to do this is by biopsy of the tumor itself, which is often not practical due to the location or size of metastatic tumor masses, for example, which makes them difficult and/or dangerous to routinely biopsy.
Tewari's work will develop a new approach to profiling tumors by capturing and examining "microparticles," tiny packets of genetic material that are emitted by cells in the tumor tissue and circulate in the blood. If successful, this would provide a convenient, safe and reliable means of obtaining molecular profiles of tumors. Capturing and profiling tumor microparticles could facilitate the use of personalized therapeutics by providing data about molecular changes occurring during the disease course following initial surgical therapy and in response to treatment.
Earlier this year, Tewari also received a $450,000 award from the Damon Runyan Cancer Research Foundation and a $100,000 Creativity Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
[Adapted from a Stand Up To Cancer news release.]