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Boosting Therapy Response

Adopt-A-Scientist – Cure Cancer Offers More Hope to Breast Cancer Patients

Baylor College of Medicine oncology researchers made significant progress in the development of a low-cost personalized blood test to better detect the response of metastatic breast cancer to treatment, thanks to a $200,000 gift from Adopt-A-Scientist – Cure Cancer.

Led by George Miles, M.D., Ph.D., FCAP, assistant professor of Molecular and Human Genetics and laboratory director for Precision Oncology, and Bora Lim, M.D., associate professor of Oncology and director of translational research for the Breast Cancer Research Program, the study uses circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) – DNA from cancer cells that is released into the bloodstream – to track and monitor disease progression and response to treatment.

“The gift from Adopt-A-Scientist was integral to our success this year, helping fund personnel and pay for critical equipment and assay development for our pilot study, which became the foundation of a trial design,” Dr. Miles said. The support helped open access to National Institutes of Health grant funding.

The ctDNA study is part of Baylor’s Rapid Disease Monitoring and Response to Therapy project, which uses blood testing to determine those patients who may benefit from less treatment for better outcomes and those who may benefit from a more specific, personalized therapy to boost how they overcome disease. Tailoring treatment protocols based on an individual’s genetic makeup may affect healthy cells less and more aggressively attack the cancerous ones.

While the ctDNA study currently focuses on breast cancer, this research holds enormous potential for other cancers, offering hope to a greater number of patients and their families.

“Adopt-A-Scientist’s support enables us to establish a molecular monitoring framework for patients, ensuring they are on the right therapy at the right time,” Dr. Lim said. “That ultimately will lead to improved patient outcomes and quality of life.”

“Adopt-A-Scientist is impressed by Baylor’s team approach to helping bright minds, like those of Drs. Miles and Lim, to fight this hated disease,” said Dewey Stringer, founder of Adopt-A-Scientist.

Read about other research endeavors for treating metastatic breast cancer that Dr. Lim and her colleagues are engaged in.