Canary Center News 2019-2020

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, Awarded Dean's Medal and Professorship Announced in his Honor

July 17, 2020

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research and Chair of the Department of Radiology, was awarded the 2020 Stanford University School of Medicine Dean's Medal. The Dean’s Medal is one of the School of Medicine’s highest honors. It is presented to individuals whose scientific, medical, humanitarian, or other contributions have significantly advanced the mission of Stanford Medicine.

To complement the Dean's Medal, a small circle of friends and colleagues established a professorship that will eventually be named The Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professorship in Translational Medicine to further recognize Dr. Gambhir's extraordinary leadership, compassion, and unwavering commitment to science.

View Dr. Gambhir's tribute video produced for Dean's Medal Ceremony

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, Received 2020 European Society of Molecular Imaging (ESMI) Annual Award

June 10, 2020

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research and Chair of the Department of Radiology, has received the 2020 European Society of Molecular Imaging (ESMI) annual award.

"The Committee recognises Sam as one of the founding fathers of the field in which we all have the privilege to work. He has been a pioneer and visionary, a mentor and inspiration – thanks for your continuous and passionate dedication for imaging science."

The ESMI Award is given to an excellent scientist for her/his outstanding contribution to the interdisciplinary research in Imaging Science. The nominee must have contributed significantly to the knowledge in this field.

Congratulations, Dr. Gambhir!

Visit the European Society of Molecular Imaging website

H. Tom Soh, PhD, Received 2020 Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research Distinguished Investigator

June 1, 2020

The Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research (ARR) has announced its 2020 recipents of the 9th Annual Distinguished Investigator Award. The Canary Center would like to recognize and congratulate H. Tom Soh, PhD!

Dr. Soh is a Professor of Radiology (Early Detection), of Electrical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Chemical Engineering and of Bioengineering. His current research interests are in analytical biotechnology, especially in high-throughput screening, directed evolution, and integrated biosensors.

All recipients will be inducted into the Academy's Council of Distinguished Investigators during the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Meeting in November, to be held virtually this year. In order to be honored with this award, each of the recipients must have met specific criteria. Some of the criteria are significant research contributions, sustained productivity (including at least 25 peer-reviewded scientific research publications in which the awardee is the first or a senior author), and they must have demonstrated accomplishment as an independent investigator with a substantial ongoing research program, including at least 6 cumulative years of funding as the PI of a major competitive research grant.

Congratulations, Dr. Soh!

More information about the Distinguished Investigator Award
Visit the Soh Lab

Dr. Tanya Stoyanova Received a NCI R01/R37 MERIT Award

April 2020

Tanya Stoyanova, PhD, and Assistant Professor of Radiology, received a NIH/NCI R01/R37 MERIT Award for her proposal entitled: "Elucidating the Role of Trop2 in Prostate Cancer".

The Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT)(R37) Award provides longer term grant support to Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) beginning with new, competing awards issued in FY 2018. Eligible investigators may obtain up to seven years of support in two segments:  an initial award of up to five years and an opportunity for an extension of up to two additional years, based on an expedited NCI review of the accomplishments during the initial funding segment.

Congratulation, Dr. Stoyanova!

Dr. Tanya Stoyanova’s Group Identifies a New Driver of Highly Aggressive Type of Metastatic Prostate Cancer

January 28, 2020

Tanya Stoyanova, PhD, and colleagues at the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection identified a new driver and regulator of highly aggressive subtype of prostate cancer, neuroendocrine prostate cancer. The work reveals new molecular mechanisms and therapeutic strategies for lethal neuroendocrine prostate cancer.

Dr. Gambhir Received IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award

December 17, 2019

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, has received the IEEE Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award, “For the development of nuclear and optical science in the field of molecular imaging and cancer treatment."

"Dr. Gambhir brought together the field of cell and molecular biology with that of biomedical imaging to form the field of multimodality molecular imaging of living subjects. He developed and translated strategies for merging nuclear and optical sciences for improved cancer detection and management. These strategies include the imaging of gene and cell therapies through positron emission tomography (PET) and multimodality reporter gene technology. He also developed multimodality imaging agents for use in Raman optical imaging and photoacoustic molecular imaging for applications involving the brain, gastrointestinal tract, and the prostate. His approaches also use novel cell and molecular biology to force cancer cells to reveal themselves through both in vitro and in vivo diagnostics. His work has enabled hundreds of laboratories and companies around the world to utilize molecular imaging to study fundamental biological processes in both animals and humans."

The Award was established in 2008. The recipient selection is administered by the Technical Field Awards Council of the IEEE Awards Board and given to an individual for outstanding contributions to the field of nuclear and plasma sciences and engineering.

Congratulations, Dr. Gambhir!

Dr. Gambhir Gives Annual Oration in Diagnostic Radiology at RSNA

December 3, 2019

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research and Chair of the Department of Radiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, gave the Annual Oration in Diagnostic Radiology to an audience of approximately 4,000 people at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

His talk, "Next Generation Technologies and Strategies for Precision Health," discussed focusing more on precision health, rather than precision medicine. "Most people confuse the two," he said. "When we think about precision medicine, we are very focused on things like selecting the right drug for the right person at the right time." Moving forward, we have to build the fundamental tools that will allow for an understanding of the risks of different diseases in a given individual, possibly at the time of birth, or even conception, and then monitor the changes in those risks over time.

The annual meeting draws around 50,000 attendees from around the world to Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center.

Canary Center joins new International Alliance (ACED) aiming to detect the (almost) undetectable

October 21, 2019

Developing radical new strategies and technologies to detect cancer at its earliest stage is the bold ambition of a new transatlantic research alliance, announced today (Monday) by Cancer Research UK and partners. The International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED) is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, Canary Center at Stanford University, the University of Cambridge, the OHSU Knight Cancer InstituteUCL, and the University of Manchester.

"Continued greater investments into early cancer detection and prognostication are needed worldwide and this new alliance will bring great opportunities for truly transformative approaches to be jointly conceived, tested, and deployed.

Our greatest chances in winning the war against cancer lie in tackling the front-end of the cancer problem and not after cancer is more widespread and heterogeneous."

Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD
Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research
Chair, Department of Radiology
ACED lead at Stanford University

Additional ACED Coverage

Dr. Reiter received ASciNA Young Scientist Award 2019

September 14, 2019

Dr. Johannes Reiter has been awarded the ASciNA (Austrian Scientists and Scholars in North America) Young Scientist award for his study “Minimal functional driver gene heterogeneity among untreated metastases” which was published last year in Science Magazine.

Congratulations, Dr. Reiter!

Dr. Pitteri Invited to join California Breast Cancer Research Council

September 9, 2019

Dr. Sharon Pitteri has been invited to serve the University of California as a member of the California Breast Cancer Research Council. The Council is the official advisory body for the California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP), which awards funding for breast cancer research related to the cause, cure, treatment, prevention, and earlier detection of breast cancer.

The mission of the California Breast Cancer Research Program is to prevent and eliminate breast cancer by leading innovation in research, communication, and collaboration in the California scientific and lay communities.

The Breast Cancer Research Council is made up of advocates, scientists, clinicians and representatives from industry and nonprofit health organizations who have extensive interest in breast cancer issues. The duration of a Council term is three years. Dr. Pitteri's term will run from 2019 through 2022.

Congratulations, Dr. PItteri!

New Hybrid, Dual-modality Camera Provides Real-time Anatomical, Functional, and Molecular Imaging of the Prostate

August 28, 2019

In a proof of principle study, researchers from the Multimodality Molecular Imaging Lab (MMIL) and collaborators have developed a new hybrid camera that simultaneously uses ultrasound and photoacoustics to image cancer in the prostate. The transrectal ultrasound and photoacoustic device, or TRUSPA, utilizes an imaging agent that cancer cells readily take up to produce a picture showing the anatomy of the prostate, functional details about the gland and molecular information that can help flag cancerous tissue.

The study was published in Science Translational Medicine, "Simultaneous transrectal ultrasound and photoacoustic human prostate imaging".

New Study Finds Most Colorectal Cancers Spread Before Initial Tumor is Detected

June 17, 2019

Dr. Christina Curtis and colleagues find that colorectal cancers often spread before the initial tumor is detected. This work highlights the critical need for new strategies to detect aggressive cancers earlier.

KidneyX Redesign Dialysis Phase I Finalists

May 15, 2019

Janelle Kaneda (Pitteri lab), Mark Buckup (Stoyonova Lab), and Alisha Birk are Phase I finalists in the KidneyX Redesign Dialysis for their proposed solution, "Utilizing Optical Interrogation Methods for Early Diagnosis of Peritonitis in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients."

All three are undergraduate bioengineers and are the youngest finalist in the competition. The team designed a way to detect peritonitis before patient awareness for those who are using PD in order to treat the infection earlier. This will reduce acute hospitalization costs and prevent scarring of the peritoneum, therefore improving PD longevity . Their solution, the OpticLine, seamlessly integrates within the current PD setup, connecting in series with the drain lines used. The OpticLine will use spectrophotometry to analyze the optical density (OD) of WBCs in the dialysis waste fluid as a way to gauge for infection.

Congratulations, Janelle, Mark and Alisha!

Featured on the Cover of Nature Biotechnology: Immune Cells Engineered to Signal when Cancer is Detected

March 18, 2019

From Stanford News
Hanae Armitage

Stanford scientists were able to engineer immune cells known as macrophages to detect and flag cancer in mice. The researchers hope the technique can be used for early cancer diagnostics in humans.

Immune cells imbued with the power to detect and reveal tumors could be a new method of diagnosing cancer, according to a study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The research, performed in mice, involved modifying a specific class of immune cells to patrol the body for cancer and send a signal through blood or urine when they found trouble.

continue reading...

Drs. Sharon Pitteri, Carolyn Bertozzi and James Brooks receive NCI U01 award

March, 2019

Sharon Pitteri, PhD, Carolyn Bertozzi, PhD and James Brooks, MD receive the NCI U01-Alliance of Glycobiologists for Cancer Research Award for their proposal entitled:

"Glycosylation and Immune Evasion in Urologic Tumors"

Dr. Ali Ghoochani, PhD awarded DOD Early Investigator Award

March, 2019

Dr. Ali Ghoochani, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in Stoyanova Lab awarded Department of Defense, Early Investigator Award for his project title:

"Ferroptosis Induction is a Novel Therapeutic Strategy for Advanced Prostate Cancer"

Dr. Curtis and  Collaborators use Molecular Data to Predict Breast Cancer Recurrence

March 13, 2019

From Stanford News
Krista Conger

Some breast cancers return decades later. Now, researchers at Stanford, joined by collaborators at several other institutions, have subcategorized tumors to predict recurrence, guide treatment decisions and improve drug development.

Molecular data obtained from breast cancer cells can be used to predict which patients are at a high risk for recurrence even decades after their diagnosis, according to a new study jointly conducted by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, as well as several other institutions.

In particular, some patients whose tumors express the estrogen receptor but not another receptor called HER2 are at a persistent risk of relapse over time. Until now, there has been no way to identify those women among their peers.

continue reading...




The Early Detection of Cancer Conference returns September 24-26, 2019; this year it will be hosted by the Canary Center and will take place at Stanford University.

The organizing committee, led by Sharon Pitteri, Ashok Venkitaraman and Bree Mitchell, has put together an exciting and progressive agenda covering integrative early detection through multiple technologies; understanding susceptibility for early detection; looking for signals in the immune system and microenvironment; and making prognosis from early detection signals.

To support this, we have confirmed a stellar line-up of contributors including Denise Aberle, Jim Ford, Ruth Etzioni, Tony Ng, Antonis Antoniou, Tanya Stoyanova and George Hanna.

Registration and poster abstract submission is now open. Up to 15 abstracts will be selected for oral presentations during the conference.

Deadline for Abstracts is June 1, 2019– places are limited so secure yours now.

Canary Center Associate Members Max Diehn and Ash Alizadeh have developed a sensitive urine test for early bladder cancer detection

January 25, 2019

Zhen Cheng's group at the @CanaryCenter and @StanfordMI developed a new PET tracer that could aid melanoma detection

January 17, 2019