Canary Center at Stanford and Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre collaborate to fund innovative research to help diagnose cancer earlier
The Canary Center at Stanford has recently established a transatlantic partnership with the CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme to tackle some of the most challenging questions in early cancer detection: how to identify those at the highest risk of cancer, finding new ways to spot and cure the very first signs of cancer, and how to develop cost effective, non-invasive and reliable methods for early cancer detection.
To bring outstanding academic and clinical researchers from the US and UK together, the two centers are jointly funding four research projects exploring innovative ways to detect prostate, lung, esophageal, and renal cancers at an early stage.
The awards were announced at Cambridge’s third annual early detection symposium on January 15. You can read more about these new collaborations below or by watching the video.
“A multi-modal approach to discover novel blood-based biomarkers for early detection of poor prognosis prostate cancer”
Tanya Stoyanova, an assistant professor of radiology at the Canary Center, is partnering with Vincent Gnanapragasam, an urologist at Cambridge University Hospitals, to identify different types of tumors in men with prostate cancer. The goal is to distinguish between aggressive tumors that would require immediate treatment, and slow-growing tumors that may not need treatment immediately but could be monitored closely so that any changes in the tumor can be picked up and acted upon. Their project will use data from a number of sources including tumor DNA found circulating in the blood, protein molecules found in cancer cells, and MRI imaging of the tumor.
“Early cancer detection through transcriptomic analysis of host immune cells”
Tom Soh, a professor of radiology at the Canary Center, is exploring new ways to detect early-stage lung cancer through his partnership with Robert Rintoul, a thoracic consultant at Cambridge University Hospitals. The pair is studying the immune cells in blood samples to see if there are particular signals that could be used to identify lung cancer early.
“Levitating a sponge for the early detection of esophageal adenocarcinoma”
Utkan Demirci, a professor of radiology at the Canary Center, is working with Rebecca Fitzgerald, Cambridge’s early detection program co-lead, to detect early signs of esophageal cancer. They will use a new nanotechnology developed by Demirci that separates different types of cells using a magnetic field. The technology will be applied to the mixture of cells collected from patients that are given a Cytosponge test developed by Fitzgerald that can diagnose Barrett’s esophagus – a common condition that, in some cases, develops into esophageal cancer.
“Early detection of renal cell carcinoma using DNA methylation markers in urine”
Oliver Gevaert, an assistant professor of medicine and of biomedical data science at Stanford, and John Leppert, an associate professor of urology at Stanford, are teaming up with Charlie Massie, a group leader in Cambridge’s early detection program. They will study whether it is possible to detect the early stages of a type of kidney cancer (Renal Cell Carcinoma) using biomarkers found in urine. Their research will look at specific signals in the DNA of cells called methylation.
The researchers explain their projects in more detail in the video below: