Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD
Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, of the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, has received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that provides $6.5 million in funding over 7 years. The grant will fund research to create new bioinformatics resources and identify cancer biomarkers. Dr. Chinnaiyan is Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology and S. P. Hicks Professor of Pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Dr. Chinnaiyan is a national leader in precision oncology. In 2010, he launched the Michigan Oncology Sequencing Program, a research protocol for sequencing the DNA and RNA of metastatic cancers and normal tissue to identify alterations that could help drive treatment. The program has enrolled more than 3,000 patients and has yielded multiple publications, expanding the understanding of genetic mutations that drive cancer.
Dr. Chinnaiyan’s lab also analyzes long noncoding RNAs that may lead to new potential targets for improving cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. It has identified and explored several long non-coding RNAs that could be promising targets for future therapy. This new grant is expected to advance that work.
“We want to further characterize the dark matter of the genome. Some of these [long noncoding RNAs] will certainly be very useful as cancer biomarkers, and we think a subset are important in biological processes,” Dr. Chinnaiyan stated. “We hope to make it commonplace for patients to have a molecular blueprint of their tumor to guide treatment choices.” ■