March 20, 2014
Grant will support DNA analysis research to personalize cancer treatments at SIU
Physicians at Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine have received $58,900 in grant funding to study “personalized” treatment for cancer patients using their own DNA.
Dr. Shaheen Alanee, head of urologic oncology, said the cancers targeted in the study are bladder, ovarian, and fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer.
The research, made possible through a grant from Memorial Medical Center Foundation and targeted to begin in April, will cover patients who were or who will be treated with a specific platinum-based chemotherapy regimen. Platinum-based chemotherapy drugs are the most powerful and commonly used drugs against cancer. A patient’s DNA would be collected and examined to identify genetic determinants of response to chemotherapy treatment.
Alanee said it is important to study both current and past patients to evaluate their treatment and how they responded to it. Patients treated previously would still provide data needed for the study.
“This information will help oncologists determine whether a patient will respond better to platinum-based chemotherapy or if surgery or other chemotherapy regimens are better options,” Alanee said.
“Tailoring or personalizing a patient’s treatment based on their own DNA gives the patient the best possible advantage to survive many years,” Alanee said.
Alanee also worked on this research as part of a urologic oncology clinical fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
The mission of Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer needs through education, research, patient care and community service. Its website is www.siumed.edu/cancer.
Cindy Davidsmeyer, SCI
Karen Carlson, SIU