Archive for the ‘Canary Center at Stanford’ Category
October 14, 2021
Canary Center continues as a world class facility, acting as a hub for innovative research, collaborations, cross-disciplined studies, and international partnerships.
After their train ride, our scientists gave an informative update at a recent meeting observing distancing measures. Subjects covered included the Canary Center at Stanford, Ovarian and Prostate Programs and examples of work from the lab of Dr. Joseph DeSimone, who has been appointed as the inaugural Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor in Translational Medicine.
Below are two highlights and a link to a 2-page report.
Canary Ovarian Initiative is focusing on the microenvironment of the fallopian tubes, high grade serous carcinoma originates in the fallopian tubes, to look for changes that signal cancer.
- Using bioinformatics and methylated DNA to determine origins of ovarian cancer.
- Looking for changes in the fallopian tubes decades before cancer can be diagnosed, especially for high risk women (i.e. BRCA mutations). Single cell sequencing – looking for changes in cells that can signal cancer early.
- Remaining patient-focused for compassion and team-focused for efficiency.
Prostate Cancer Team and the Prostate Active Surveillance Study (PASS), more than a decade on, helps patients in the study as well as informing the medical profession on ways to understand which men are at greatest risk, requiring aggressive treatment versus those who have slow growing cancer. Recent Pass accomplishments include:
- Advanced imaging with MRI.
- African Americans do not have worse outcomes in active surveillance
- Created models to predict non-progression.
- Fewer painful prostate biopsies.
- PASS Risk calculator to aid patients and physicians with decisions.
- High risk patients (BRCA mutation) personalized screening.
Read the full update report here:
Don Listwin Award For Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Early Detection 2021 goes to Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD, FMedSci
October 11, 2021
The Don Listwin Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cancer Early Detection recognizes a sustained contribution to, or singular achievement in, the cancer early detection field.
The 2021 Award goes to: Rebecca Fitzgerald MD FMedSci, MRC Cancer Unit, University of Cambridge and an internationally recognized pioneer for her exceptional research into the prevention and detection of oesophageal cancers.
This award was announced at the recent Early Detection of Cancer Conference – EDx21.
This award is given to recognize and thank Rebecca for the work she has done to develop, grow and establish the research needed to detect cancer early.
She is the Interim Director of the MRC Cancer Unit, Hutchison-MRC Research Centre, Professor of Cancer Prevention, and Clinician Scientist leading research in the Early Detection of Cancer for the University of Cambridge and the CRUK Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED). Rebecca is known for the development of the Cytosponge technology, a sponge on a string that patients can swallow instead of undergoing an endoscopy. The Cytosponge collects cells from the oesophagus for staining, which can flag the presence of TFF3-positive cells indicative of Barrett’s oesophagus, a precursor to oesophageal cancer. Recently Rebecca and her team published work demonstrating that Cytosponge increases the identification of Barrett’s in individuals with frequent heart-burn symptoms by 10-fold compared to standard of care. The building of evidence for its clinical implementation for surveillance of high-risk individuals and in endoscopy sparing due to COVID-19 related pressures on health systems continues to make a vital impact to patients’ lives and is internationally recognized for its contribution towards breaking barriers in research.
Congratulations to Rebecca and we are pleased to have her within the early detection community.
The 2021 Gambhir Symposium (virtual) –celebrating ongoing work of visionary and pioneer Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir
August 6, 2021
The 2021 Gambhir Symposium (virtual) held on July 19, 2021 included discussions and presentations celebrating the continuing work on paths forged by Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, (1962-2020) in the fields in which he launched new directions:
Molecular Imaging, Cancer Early Detection, Precision Health.
April 13, 2021
The 2021 Precision Health and Integrated Diagnostics (PHIND) Center at Stanford held the virtual PHIND Symposium on March 23, 2021. The event showcased the exciting PHIND work that is going on campus-wide, featuring current PHIND investigators and Precision Health experts. Professor of Radiology Dr. Garry Gold gave an update on the PHIND center, reflecting upon former Radiology Chair Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir’s visionary leadership and the continuation of this work, now with Dr. Gold’s direction, aimed at monitoring health to identify early transitions from health to disease.
Discussions included one with Dr. Joseph DeSimone, recently named recipient of the Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professorship in Translational Medicine, who stated that although he is new to PHiND, his group has been thinking about precision delivery, using new devices such as microneedles to deliver treatments locally, rather than systemically throughout the body. Dr. Utkan Demirci, leading the Canary Center at Stanford, discussed his group’s Exosome-Total-Isolation-Chip (ExoTIC) device for identification of exosome-based biomarkers for monitoring health from a variety of biological fluids.
Besides devices, like the one in the picture, there was a focus on data. What kinds of data are we capturing as the clinical enterprise has transformed through Covid and telehealth? Can we separate patients into cohorts with online and in person visits to optimize the clinical workflows? How can we access and mine data from non-identifiable electronic health records? Participants also discussed ways to ensure equity in access to these devices and data, as well as ways to ensure clinical trial participants are engaged in meaningful ways in monitoring their health.
The Precision Health and Integrated Diagnostics Center (PHIND) at Stanford is dedicated to longitudinal monitoring and improvement of overall human health on a lifelong basis. Stanford advancements in biology and technology are leading to the potential to understand disease risk, detect disease early and enable preventative interventions.
Canary Foundation’s Ovarian Cancer Initiative: moving forward with matching specimen and imaging tissue in 3D
March 8, 2021
The Canary High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer (HGSC) study is leveraging the expertise and resources of four institutions to study the microenvironmental factors that can lead fallopian tubes to develop this deadly type of ovarian cancer and thus provide a signal to alert for the presence of early disease. The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, the University of Pennsylvania, the Van Andel Institute in Michigan, and the University of California San Francisco have built the infrastructure to share fallopian tube specimens, experimental and clinical data, and analytical teams.
The small pilot study goals are to ask whether it is possible to compare women carrying the BRCA mutations (who are at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer) compared to those who do not carry the mutation and determine whether it is possible to find a measurable difference in the microenvironment.
Based on their first results, the team is selecting a larger set of specimens, matched for clinical factors and BRCA mutation status, and will conduct RNA, DNA and methylome sequencing. The group is also comparing competing platforms for imaging the tissue expression in 3D so that differences along the length of the tube can be evaluated and tested for correlations with the genetic data.
The International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED) joins researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom in a $70 million partnership. Founded in 2019, ACED is a partnership with the Canary Center at Stanford University, CRUK, the University of Cambridge, the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), University College London and the University of Manchester. The following is one study chosen for it’s innovative approach to early detection:
Stratifying Risk for Early Detection in Hereditary Breast and Ovarian cancer
Project Award, led by: Marc Tischkowitz, University of Cambridge; Allison Kurian, Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection; and Gareth Evans, University of Manchester. Stanford Team: Allison Kurian, Alice Fan, James Ford
CanRisk is a cancer risk assessment tool which combines genetic, lifestyle, clinical and imaging data to calculate an individual risk estimate for women with high-risk mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. The ability to provide personalized cancer risk estimates will identify women at particularly high risk. Currently, the ranges of cancer risk estimates for women with hereditary mutations in breast cancer genes are wide and not personalized, so all women are given the same figures. Creating a customized approach can solve this problem.
By implementing personalized risk estimates, early detection strategies can be tailored for the individual, therefore identifying those at the highest risk. Once feasibility is assessed, women undergoing predictive testing for BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, ATM or CHEK2 in US and UK genetics centers will be randomized to conventional vs personalized risk estimate based on genetic/lifestyle/hormonal modifiers.
November 22, 2020
Dr. Joseph DeSimone
We welcome Professor Joseph M. DeSimone, PhD. in the position of the Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor in Translational Medicine. We are fortunate to have such creative and capable leadership as our work together in cancer early detection continues.
From the Stanford Press Release: The Stanford Department of Radiology is proud to announce Professor Joseph M. DeSimone as the inaugural Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor in Translational Medicine. A shining example of achievement, Joe has been described as “an igniter of innovation”. He has received international recognition as a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur, earning major accolades including the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, the 2017 Heinz Award, and the Lemelson-MIT Prize. He is one of only 25 individuals elected to all three U.S. National Academies—the National Academy of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering. In 2016, President Obama presented him with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor in the U.S. for achievement and leadership in advancing technological progress. Read more here.
Joe and his lab have made significant scientific breakthroughs in science and medicine including next-generation approaches to cancer treatment and diagnosis, implantable drug delivery devices, green chemistry, and most recently in 3D printing technology for medical devices tailored to an individual patient’s needs. A dedicated educator and strong advocate for bringing a broader diversity of perspectives into research, he has mentored over 80 students through PhD completion at Univ. of North Carolina and North Carolina State Univ. (his former 30-year career), half of whom were women and members of underrepresented groups in STEM.
As an avid researcher and innovator, Joe has authored over 370 scientific publications with over 42,000 citations to his work, and is a named inventor on over 200 issued patents. Additionally, he brings a unique ability to transfer novel solutions from his lab to the world through the companies he co-founded.
September 16, 2020
Over the years, Canary Foundation has helped researchers develop successful ways of working together over distance, and we draw on that experience during these times.
A message on the Canary Center re-opening from:
Dr. Utkan Demirci, Co-Director, Canary Center at Stanford
Dr. Ryan Spitler, Deputy Director of the Precision Health and Integrated Diagnostics Center
Dr. Sharon Pitteri, Associate Professor, Canary Center at Stanford
We discover ways to move forward while staying safe. From the very early arrival of COVID-19, we have been able to successfully keep the Canary Center vibrant with virtual interactions and with safety in mind. We have implemented measures for social distancing, and staggered laboratory shifts as we follow the guidance on re-opening stages from the Radiology department and Stanford University. We are using our time out of the lab well. Many researchers have taken this hard-to-find time to focus on data analysis, writing manuscripts, reading scientific literature, and developing new ideas for future projects. We also are exploring intersecting dimensions between cancer and COVID-19 related research. We have asked ourselves this question: how are we uniquely positioned to contribute to the pandemic crisis through the work we are doing in cancer early detection?
We look after each other. Everyone working in the Center has committed to the safety and well-being of every other Canary member. This is key. Each research group also has their own independent safety plan to ensure they are aware of their colleagues as well as their specific research needs. Collectively, we have been building up our research efforts in phases.
We will continue to push forward to detect cancer before it strikes and support COVID-19 related efforts. Take our Smart Toilet system. The Smart Toilet system is a wave-of-the-near-future method of collecting important changes in biodata to serve personalized medicine. We have been able to modify our Smart Toilet system originally designed for early cancer detection to also be used as a screening tool to detect COVID-19. This approach enhances longitudinal testing and serves to detect very small, early changes. Unnecessary exposure is also limited for the patient and the health care provider who normally must come in close proximity for a nasal swab that often triggers a cough or sneeze.
Human health is our passion and one that burns strongly no matter what challenges we face.
To better envision the opening of the Canary Center, please enjoy this brief video.
Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, pioneer in molecular imaging, Director of the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection, dies at 57
July 21, 2020
From Stanford University News:
Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, professor and chair of radiology at the Stanford School of Medicine and an internationally recognized pioneer in molecular imaging, died July 18 of cancer. He was 57. He was a global leader in advancing techniques for molecular imaging and early cancer detection.
Below is the message that Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, shared with the community on July 18.
Words cannot express what an immense loss this is personally, for our Stanford community, and for the field of medicine.
Sam was an uncommonly talented physician-scientist. As the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor in Cancer Research and director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), Sam earned international recognition as a pioneer of molecular imaging. He authored nearly 700 peer-reviewed articles, several books, filed for 40 patents, and his lab’s work has been featured on dozens of journal covers. But Sam was most proud to see many of his discoveries translate to the clinic, which today benefit patients around the globe.
To many of us, however, Sam was much more: a dear friend. His kindness, sense of humor, and graceful way with people were among his defining qualities and will be sorely missed by those who knew him.
I first met Sam in 2012 when he was serving as co-chair of the search committee that selected me to be Dean. It was then that I immediately understood why he is so revered at Stanford Medicine and across the university. As a leader and as a person, Sam exemplified through his life the best of Stanford and the highest values to which we aspire.
Many of us witnessed Sam’s courage and tenacity during the 21 months that he and his wife Aruna fought for the life of their son Milan, who passed away in 2015 at the age of sixteen. Sam understood the fragility of human health and worked every day to apply his genius to research focused on diagnosing disease in its earliest and most treatable stages.
Sam was an advocate for precision health long before it was popularized. In recent years, he dedicated his life to the early detection of cancer as director of the Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection at Stanford. In 2016, he established the Precision Health and Integrated Diagnostics (PHIND) Center to help create the future he envisioned for health care—a world in which technologies continuously monitor our health to keep us healthy.
Throughout his prolific career, he mentored more than 150 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. These leaders, representing more than ten disciplines, will carry on his legacy.
I hope that we may come together as a community, virtually and in spirit, to support each other during this difficult time and to share our memories of Sam—a scientific visionary, a trusted mentor, a beloved colleague and friend.
In lieu of flowers, the Gambhir family prefers donations to the PHIND Center, the Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection at Stanford, the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, or The Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professorship in Translational Medicine.
Canary Foundation congratulates Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir on receiving the 2020 European Society of Molecular Imaging award.
July 6, 2020
From the Stanford press release:
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 recognizes 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!