Dr. Brooks research focuses on developing approaches to assess tumor development and aggressiveness. Most of these projects involve an interface between clinical and basic research and utilize genomic approaches to identify molecular biomarkers. He is also exploring isolation and molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells as a predictive biomarker. In addition, He has ongoing collaborative work in developing imaging strategies for prostate cancer. He has extensive experience running small and large clinical trials in prostate cancer. He is a founding member and site PI of the Canary PASS trial which has been designed to test candidate biomarkers of prognosis in patients on active surveillance for prostate cancer.
The Chang lab is focused on how the activities of hundreds or even thousands of genes (gene parties) are coordinated to achieve biological meaning. We have pioneered methods to predict, dissect, and control large-scale gene regulatory programs; these methods have provided insights into human development, cancer, and aging. A particular interest is how cells know and remember their locations in the body, particularly with the help of long noncoding RNAs.
Dr. Curtis' area of interest is the development and application of innovative experimental and analytical approaches to improve the detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In particular, my laboratory leverages high-throughput omics techniques, integrative statistical approaches, computational modeling, and functional assays to elucidate the genotype-phenotype map and mechanisms of tumor progression. We have developed a quantitative framework to infer tumor evolutionary dynamics with application to early tumor growth, metastatic dissemination and therapeutic resistance with a focus on breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers. We are also developing approaches to characterize (epi)genomic/phenotypic diversity at single cell resolution. Other aspects of our research are focused on advancing early detection efforts through the development of robust biomarkers of malignant potential and the identification of circulating biomarkers present in cell-free DNA.
Dr Daniel is interested in developing and applying new techniques for performing MRI to detect early occult breast cancer. These include higher spatial resolution conventional techniques, as well as new methods for detection of breast cancer without need for intravenous contrast agents. He is interested in developing and applying new techniques for detecting clinically relevant localized prostate cancer. Specifically he is using new MRI techniques to map dominant intraprostatic high-grade lesions. He is developing methods for direct MR guided transperineal needle access to the prostate as a means of performing targeted biopsy and other needle based ablation procedures. His ultimate hope is to treat suitable patients with limited dominant intraprostatic lesions using focal ablation, avoiding radical prostatectomy.
Prof. de la Zerda’s research interests span the broad field of Molecular Imaging. His lab focuses on developing new optical imaging instrumentation and chemistry tools to study the complex spatiotemporal behavior of biomolecules in living subjects. The lab uses animal models for cancer and ophthalmic diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. His research efforts span both basic science and clinically translatable work.
Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD
Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine
Department of Radiology and Chemical Engineering and, by courtesy, of Chemistry, of Materials Science and Engineering, and of Operations, Information and Technology at the Graduate School of Business
DeSimone is responsible for numerous breakthroughs in his career in areas including green chemistry, medical devices, nanomedicine, and 3D printing, also co-founding several companies based on his research. The DeSimone laboratory aims to develop innovative, interdisciplinary solutions to complex problems centered around advanced polymer 3D fabrication methods. Through the group's Chemical Engineering and Materials Science focus area, they are pursuing new capabilities in digital 3D printing, as well as the synthesis of new polymers for use in advanced additive technologies. The DeSimone lab aims to employ these advances through their Translational Medicine focus area, including to investigate new vaccine platforms, enhanced drug delivery approaches, and improved medical devices for numerous conditions, with an initial major focus in pediatrics. Complementing these research areas, the group has a third focus in Entrepreneurship, Digital Transformation, and Manufacturing.
Dr. Dhanasekaran is interested in exploring the molecular biology of liver cancer in order to identify diagnostic and therapeutic targets for liver cancer. She conducts basic and translational research to understand the molecular mechanisms of liver cancer metastasis and dormancy using mouse models of liver cancer. Also, she plays an active role in the cancer genome atlas (TCGA) consortium effort to translate the knowledge gained from the study of genomics of liver cancer. She maintains a bio-repository of tissue and blood samples from patients with liver cancer and has developed several patient derived xenograft (PDX) models for preclinical testing. Dr.Dhanasekaran is a recipient of the NIH/NCI K08 career development award which a focuses on identifying proteomic biomarkers for early detection of cancer. She has been working on evaluation of immune-related and circulating tumor DNA biomarkers for early diagnosis of liver cancer.
Dr. Diehn's research efforts are focused on developing a deeper understanding of the biology of thoracic malignancies in order to improve therapeutic strategies for these diseases. He is a practicing radiation oncologist and treats primarily lung cancer patients. His clinical research is focused on improving therapies for cancer patients and on translating approaches and findings from the laboratory into the clinic. In the laboratory his focus is on epithelial stem cell biology and its implications for cancer biology. He also studies biomarkers for early detection and characterization of cancers, with an emphasis on circulating tumor DNA. He employs tools from genomics, bioinformatics, stem cell biology, and mouse genetics to address these questions.
Dr. Fantl's lab applies state-of-the-art multi-parametric single cell technology platforms; specifically, mass cytometry (CyTOF) and a new multiplex imaging platform called CODection by indEXing (CODEX), combined with machine learning approaches for data analysis to reveal new insight about ovarian cancer. Much of the information gained from newly diagnosed, albeit advanced HGSC, allows them to identify features of the disease that can then be applied to early detection. They are piloting several blood tests. Specifically: i) applying phospho-flow methodologies to blood from healthy BRCA carriers to determine whether the readouts could be used to monitor the onset of malignancy ii) in their latest study they demonstrated that a decidual-like (dl)-NK cell infiltrating newly diagnosed tumors correlated with tumor mass. They are now designing studies to determine whether the presence of dl-NK cells in peripheral blood could be used for early disease detection.
Dr. Felsher's laboratory studies how oncogenes initiate and maintain tumorigenesis. He has uncovered the phenomena of oncogene addiction, the notion that inactivating a single oncogene can result in dramatic tumor regression. He utilizes novel conditional transgenic mouse models as analysis of human patients to understand the mechanism of oncogene addiction. His work has been highly useful towards the identification of new therapeutic targets and the development of new therapeutic strategies. His work suggests that early cancer can be prevented by the suppression of specific oncogenes. His work has identified gene signatures the are useful in predicting which early cancers are most likely to become highly invasive malignant tumors. Finally, his work has developed novel methods of gene expression analysis, molecular imaging and nanoscale proteomics for the early detection, diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of cancer.
As a physician-scientist, Dr. Ford has been engaged in basic, translational and clinical research in solid tumors and cancer genetics. His overall research goals are to understand the role of genetic changes in cancer genes in the risk and development of solid tumors. His laboratory focuses on how DNA repair and DNA damage response pathways are critical to tumorigenesis and are potential candidates for targeted therapeutics and prevention. A major focus is the characterization of DNA repair defects in solid tumors, and the synergistic activity of DNA damaging chemotherapy drugs and radiation with PARP inhibitors in basal-like breast cancer and GI cancers. The translation of these ideas to the clinic proceeds through clinical trials in patients with defined genetic risk for cancer. He founded and directs the Stanford Cancer Genetics Clinic, where with a team of cancer genetic counselors, patients receive genetic counseling and testing for hereditary cancer syndromes, and are offered clinical research protocols for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer in high-risk individuals.
My lab focuses on biomedical data fusion: the development of machine learning methods for biomedical decision support using multi-scale biomedical data. Previously we pioneered data fusion work using Bayesian and kernel methods studying breast and ovarian cancer. Additionally, we developed computational algorithms for the identification of driver genes using multi-omics data. Furthermore, we are working on multi-scale biomedical data fusion methods, bridging the molecular using omics data, cellular using pathology data and tissue using medical imaging data.
Dr Harris' expertise is in the epitaxial crystal growth of unique semiconductor materials and nanostructuring to produce photonic devices that operate at wavelengths optimized for specific applications, such as fluorophors and fluorescent proteins to tag specific cells or molecules and provide molecular specificity for the study of disease and therapeutic effectiveness. He has developed a vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) platform that he has integrated into a small package that has been implanted into mice to study the development of cancer. Such an integrated sensor can be packaged with Bluetooth or WiFi communications and easily worn by humans to provide real-time continuous tracking of specific cancer or stem cells that could be particularly effective for tracking and early detection of cancer patients who are in remission. He collaborates with Prof. Sam Gambhir and Dr. Jelena Levi in the Canary Center on these projects. A second major project is the development of a fully integrated mode locked semiconductor laser (1 cm vs. 1m and 5 gm vs. 10 Kg for conventional mode locked lasers) with application to two-photon microscopy in the brain, but could be easily adapted to provide higher optical power for non-invasive direct near-IR imaging or visible two-photon imaging of any organ or blood vessels which can be fluorescently tagged and used in cancer detection.
My research mission is to accelerate improvements in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics by developing and applying effective methodological frameworks for extracting actionable knowledge from multi-scale data. My clinical background in oncology and PhD training in Biomedical Informatics position me well to develop and apply data science methodologies on heterogeneous, multi-scale data (e.g., multi-modality omics, imaging, histopathologic, clinical) with the goal of extracting biologically meaningful or clinically useful knowledge that can improve outcomes in cancer. My research interests are to develop and apply computational methodologies to (1) identify potentially novel therapeutic targets in concert with new subtypes in different cancers, (2) establish imaging data as proxies for molecular phenotypes in cancers, and (3) model predictions about cancer outcomes using multi-scale data. In my previous work in glioblastoma, a highly aggressive brain tumor, I developed computational frameworks of multi-scale data integration to discover novel image-based subtypes with specific therapeutic targets, as well as to enhance prediction model performances. These same computational frameworks can be used to improve early cancer detection. They can identify subtypes or phenotypes of patients with pre-cancerous lesions who are likely to progress to aggressive cancers. They also incorporate non-invasive, imaging-derived features to predict cancerous transformation. Applying these big data methodologies to accelerate early cancer detection and risk-stratification ultimately results in better patient outcomes
Our group’s research program is focused on elucidating i) the genetics of stomach and colon cancer, ii) developing new DNA sequencing technologies among others that improve genetic analysis and iii) conceiving of new computational approaches for analyzing the “big data” generated from human genome DNA sequencing. Much of my research efforts are directly related to the new paradigm of precision cancer medicine, where one uses molecular genetic information to better inform decisions about medical treatment.
One of the major topics of my research program involves elucidating the genetic mechanisms and biology underlying the spread of stomach and colon cancer to other organs in the body. In a recent study, my research group identified specific genes that are responsible for the metastatic spread of stomach and colon cancer. These genes have implications for the early detection of stomach and colon cancer as well. Our studies have identified that genetic alterations in these candidate cancer genes are may predict a cancer’s ability to spread more aggressively. We are applying these discoveries to improve the early detection and recognition of more aggressive precursors of cancer, that once recognized could be used to identify patients who may be at risk for metastatic disease and thus require more intense screening. We are also developing new DNA technologies to improve the early detection of colon cancer via analysis of the blood.
Current research interests include medical ultrasound imaging (anatomic, functional and molecular) and therapy (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound), ultrasound neuro-stimulation, chemical/biological sensors, and micromachined ultrasonic transducers. Anatomic imaging and molecular imaging research have direct bearing on early cancer detection, as is the chemical/biological sensor. Research on HIFU and neuro-modulation close the loop on treating cancer with tissue destruction or by manipulating neural signals to organs. All these research projects rely on the development of novel ultrasound technologies including capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) along with their integrated front-end electronics and systems.
Daniel H. Kim, PhD
Assistant Professor -Biomolecular Engineering
University of California Santa Cruz
Dr. Kim's research interests are focused on understanding the functions of noncoding RNAs in cancer formation. In particular, our laboratory investigates how oncogenic RAS signaling regulates the noncoding transcriptome during the initial stages of cellular transformation. We are also developing RNA-based liquid biopsy approaches to enable highly sensitive and specific early detection of RAS-driven cancers using genomic approaches.
Dr. Kurian’s research interests focus on clinically-oriented research based on genetic risk assessment, risk-adapted screening and prevention to improve the outcomes of women's cancers. Her research employs methods from the population sciences, in close collaboration with the Stanford Division of Epidemiology, Department of Radiology, the Center for Biomedical Informatics Research, the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute. She has led epidemiologic studies of risk factors for breast and ovarian cancer, clinical trials of breast cancer prevention, and decision analyses of strategies to optimize breast and ovarian cancer outcomes. She led the Oncoshare project, a multi-institutional breast cancer outcomes research database that integrates information from electronic medical records and the population-based California Cancer Registry. Other recent work includes the development of a clinical decision support tool to help women with BRCA1/2 mutations reduce their cancer risks through early detection and prevention interventions.
I am a urologic surgeon-scientist with clinical expertise in management of patients with high risk early stage bladder and prostate cancer. My research group is interested in developing strategies for risk-stratified, individualized, multimodal tools for cancer screening, surveillance, and treatment response assessment. Particularly for bladder cancer, we have developed: 1) urine-based molecular diagnostics using multiplex mRNA panels and targeted sequencing of cell free tumor DNA; 2) optical and molecular endoscopic technologies for early cancer detection; and 3) artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted image-guided surgery. We have expertise in conducting human subject research including longitudinal cancer surveillance and biobanking. Nationally and internationally, I have served as a review panel member for the Early Disease Research Network (EDRN) and International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED).
The early stages of cancer invasion and metastasis involve the interaction of epithelial cells with the extracellular matrix. We suspect that these interactions generate specific microanatomical changes, such as collagen tracts, that can be detected with clinical imaging modalities. In our research, we use basic science techniques including genome editing, 3D breast organoids, and optical imaging to study the dynamics of early cell/matrix interactions. We work with radiologists and epidemiologists to translate findings to the clinic. Our long-term goal is to specify the earliest events in invasion and metastasis. This information will help to guide the development of early detection and risk stratification tools and point to risk-reducing therapeutics.
Dr. Lipson is an investigator and faculty member in the Stanford University School of Medicine Department of Radiology, Breast Imaging Division. Her clinical work includes screening and diagnostic mammography, diagnostic breast ultrasound, screening and diagnostic breast MRI, and minimally invasive breast biopsy and wire localization guided by x-ray, ultrasound, and MRI. Her research interests include mammographic density and breast cancer risk assessment; early breast cancer detection and extent of disease evaluation using contrast enhanced mammography and MRI; and novel blood and imaging biomarkers of breast cancer burden and neoadjuvant treatment response.
Dr. Oakley-Girvan is interested in merging exquisitely captured multi-disciplinary data and novel epidemiologic study design to improve how we measure gene-environment interactions that lead to cancer and cancer mortality, particularly for breast, prostate and thyroid cancers. Some of my current work includes evaluating potential biomarkers of environmental and lifestyle exposures (telomeres, cytokines, epigenetic changes, and other markers of health and aging) and their relationship to cancer incidence and survival. My team has used biosensors and a collaborative multi-disciplinary approach to help capture this data and is engaged in leveraging naturally occurring human experiments that provide information on gene-environment interactions during critical exposure periods such as childhood. We are committed to reducing disparities in disease incidence and outcomes and as a result, have demonstrated experience in community based participatory research and are highly successful in enrolling diverse patient and matching control populations.
Dr. Plevritis is the co-Section Chief of Integrative Biomedical Imaging Informatics (IBIIS) and Director of the NCI Stanford Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB). Dr. Plevritis' research bridges multiple levels of "big data" in cancer, including genomic, proteomic, medical imaging and clinical outcomes data. Her research aims to model the natural history of cancer by identifying molecular drivers of cancer progression from early to late stages, in order to formulate novel strategies for early detection and treatment. She also develops models of clinical cancer progression from cancer registries and clinical trials in order to evaluate the effectiveness of new cancer screening strategies.
Dr. Sonn’s research team focuses on the development and validation of novel imaging modalities (MRI, ultrasound, molecular imaging) and medical devices that will improve the care of men with prostate cancer by reducing treatment-related side effects. Multidisciplinary collaboration with urologists, radiologists, scientists and engineers at Stanford is critical to achieving this goal. Dr. Sonn directs the MRI-Ultrasound fusion targeted prostate biopsy program at the Stanford Cancer Center. Image-guidance techniques currently used for targeted biopsy will be optimized and employed for image-guided focal ablation of prostate cancer. Focal cancer ablation will then be tested in clinical trials
Aging is associated with an increased incidence of cancer and several other diseases. We previously identified a common age-related disorder of the blood characterized by the acquisition of certain somatic mutations in hematopoietic stem cells (Jaiswal et al., NEJM 2014). These mutations allow stem cell clones to expand relative to normal stem cells; this clonal expansion is termed "clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential", or CHIP (Steensma et al., Blood 2015).
The most commonly found mutations in CHIP are in genes involved in epigenetic regulation (DNMT3A, TET2, ASXL1). CHIP is very rare in the young, but becomes common with aging. Between 10-30% of the elderly have a clonal mutation meeting the definition of CHIP. Those with CHIP are at markedly increased risk of developing hematological malignancies such as myelodysplastic syndrome, acute myeloid leukemia, and lymphoma; the rate of conversion to these blood cancers is about 1% per year among those with CHIP
Dr. Stefanicks research focuses on chronic disease prevention (particularly, heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and dementia) in both women and men. Her work on the effects of menopausal hormones on cardiovascular and other health outcomes in mostly healthy postmenopausal women (in the Womens Health Initiative, WHI), in women with established heart disease, (the Heart and Estrogen-progesterone Replacement Study, HERS), and in peri-menopausal and early post-menopausal women (the Postmenopausal Estrogen and Progesterone Interventions, PEPI) trials has been widely disseminated both nationally and internationally. She was also the principal investigator of two large diet trials focusing on the role of a low-fat eating pattern (including increased vegetables & fruits) on preventing breast cancer (WHI) and recurrence (Womens Healthy Eating and Living, WHEL, trial) and she conducted several medium-sized diet, exercise, and weight control trials focused on heart disease risk and body composition that have influenced national guidelines. [She is currently writing a proposal for a large national trial of physical activity in older women with cardiovascular outcomes, not just risk factors.] Her current passion is the study of Sex (and Gender) Differences in Human Physiology and Disease, the title of a course she teaches in Stanfords Human Biology program, in addition to a course entitled: Current Topics and Controversies in Womens Health. Dr. Stefanick also plays major leadership roles in Stanfords Cardiovascular Institutes Womens Heart Health Program and Stanford Cancer Institutes Cancer Prevention and Control Program.
Over the past 10 years the Wang lab made distinctive contributions to magneto-nanosensors and has been considered among the select few pioneers in the use of magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) and giant magnetoresistive (GMR) sensors for bio-detection. The Wang lab published a series of important papers and patents on MNP and GMR sensors and their biological applications (e.g., PNAS, 105, 20637-40, 2008; US Patent No. 7,419,639, issued Sept. 2, 2008; Nature Medicine, 15, 1327-32, 2009; Nature Nanotechnology, 2011; Nature Communication, 2013). The Wang lab reported attomolar to femtomolar sensitivities for protein biomarkers, and the technology platform is being applied to in-vitro diagnostics of cancer, radiation exposure, autoimmunity and infectious diseases. The magneto-nanosensor is an enabling technology for rapid in-vitro cancer diagnostics, and a cornerstone of Stanford-based Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence established by National Cancer Institute. Over the last two years the Wang lab started developing peptide-based magneto-nanosensors for detecting autoantibodies in collaboration with the Utz lab and Intel Corporation, demonstrating that the nanosensors can measure single amino acid mutation and peptide-autoantibody kinetics in a highly multiplexed manner.
Dr. West is interested in the genomics of early neoplasia, with a focus on breast neoplasia. Dr. West's laboratory develops and applies genomic and in situ techniques to archival clinical samples to generate a better understanding of the events that occur in the progression to invasive carcinoma. The goal of the laboratory is to create assays that can be used to address clinically significant questions involved in the prevention of cancer.
My laboratory has a deep interest in ocular and orbital cancers. We focus on ocular surface, periorbital and orbital malignancy detection, identification and treatment. We have developed mouse models of de-novo ocular surface and periorbital cancer formation to understand the earliest genetic and epigenetic changes that lead to invasive malignancies. We have also utilized fluorescent-tagged epidermal growth factor receptor binding compounds to detect ocular surface, periorbital and orbital tumors in situ and intra-operatively. This allows for early molecular identification, as well as post-resection/treatment confirmation that the tumor has been eradicated or if residual tumor is present. Finally, we have developed human ocular surface primary tumor and cell-line transplantation into mouse models, to test early detection and treatment effectiveness strategies.
Dr. Joy Wu is a board-certified endocrinologist with over 12 years' experience who specializes in treating women and men with osteoporosis and other bone and mineral diseases. She has a special interest in optimizing skeletal health for those at risk of bone loss from glucocorticoid treatment, cancer therapies, or organ transplant. The Joy Wu Lab is focused on the role of bone-forming osteoblasts in the bone marrow hematopoietic and malignant niche. They have demonstrated that parathyroid hormone (PTH) decreases breast cancer metastases to bone, and are now examining the early molecular events that underlie this protective effect of PTH. We have been manipulating PTH receptor signaling genetically and pharmacologically in mice with breast cancer, and use bioluminescence imaging and flow cytometry to follow the initial stages of breast cancer spread to bone.
One hallmark of cancer is that malignant cells modulate metabolic pathways to promote cancer progression. The Ye Lab is interested in investigating the causes and consequences of the abnormal metabolic phenotypes of cancer cells in response to metabolic stress, with the prospect that therapeutic approaches might be developed to target these metabolic pathways to improve cancer treatment. In addition, we are also interested in applying untargeted metabolomic analysis to look for biomarkers that can be used for cancer early detection.