Abeloff V Scholar * (Tie for Top Rank)
Cancers of the brain and spine are hard to cure and are often lethal. Knowing if and when a cancer will recur has been challenging to predict. We do not have a good test to determine which cancers will return quickly and which will not. For this reason, nearly all patients are given the same treatment that often involves surgery, radiation, and drug therapy.
A holy grail in cancer research is to create a test that can predict cancer behavior. Our laboratory studies DNA structure and how it can be used to predict cancer behavior. One goal of our laboratory is to create a test based on DNA structure that can pick out the aggressive brain cancers from the less aggressive ones. A second goal is to create a test that can tell which cancers might respond to new drug treatments. To do this, we use a combination of cutting-edge experimental and computational approaches. We anticipate that such research will lead to the ability to create a treatment plan for each patient individually. We can treat aggressive cancers with tailored plans, whereas we can hold on treatments for cancers that are unlikely to need it.