Indian-Origin Arul Chinnaiyan awarded $6.5 million for cancer biomarkers

US National Cancer Institute

The US National Cancer Institute has awarded $6.5 million and “Outstanding Investigator Award” to Indian-origin scientist Arul Chinnaiyan from the University of Michigan for identifying cancer biomarkers to improve diagnosis and developing new targeted therapies.

The grant awarded to professor Chinnaiyan will provide long-term support to increase understanding of these markers to leverage targeted treatments for cancer.

The field of precision oncology continues to evolve with the overarching goal of providing cancer patients with enhanced diagnostic and prognostic capabilities and better treatments,” said Chinnaiyan.

The award is part of a grant programme called R35 developed by the National Cancer Institute.

A pioneer in precision oncology, Chinnaiyan launched the Mi-ONCOSEQ (Michigan Oncology Sequencing) programme in 2010, which is a research protocol for sequencing the DNA and RNA of metastatic cancers and normal tissue to identify alterations that could help drive treatment.

The programme also includes a precision medicine tumour board in which experts discuss cancer cases.

“We want to further characterise the dark matter of the genome. Some of these lncRNAs will certainly be very useful as cancer biomarkers and we think subsets are important in biological processes,” Chinnaiyan noted.

“We hope to make it commonplace for patients to have a molecular blueprint of their tumour to guide treatment choices.”

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