AACR-Novocure Career Development Awards for Tumor Treating Fields Research

The AACR-Novocure Career Development Awards for Tumor Treating Fields Research represents a joint effort to promote and support early-career investigators who are conducting innovative research focused on Tumor Treating Fields. These grants are intended to provide a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of action of this anti-cancer treatment modality and to accelerate the development of new treatment strategies to advance therapeutic options for cancer.

2020 Grantees

Narasimha Kumar Karanam, PhD

Narasimha Kumar Karanam, PhD

Instructor
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, Texas
Harnessing E2F-Rb-CDK4/6 axis for novel combination therapy with TTFields

Research
Tumor treating fields (TTFields) cause replication stress and inhibit the DNA damage repair process due to decreased expression of genes involved in the Fanconi anemia pathway and cell cycle checkpoint. However, the exact cause of the downregulation of these genes has been elusive. Preliminary quantitative proteomics data point to a putative involvement of the CDK–Rb–E2F axis in treatment response to TTFields.  Dr. Karanam is set to explore TTFields-induced proteome and metabolome changes in in vitro and in vivo lung and pancreatic cancer models, and to determine the therapeutic potential of combining E2F and CDK4/6 inhibitors with TTFields.

Biography
Dr. Karanam received his PhD in cancer biology at the University of Greifswald, Germany. He pursued postdoctoral training at George Washington University. He is currently an instructor at UT Southwestern Medical Center, where his research includes the interrogation of TTFields mechanisms of action.

Acknowledgment of Support
I am deeply honored to receive the AACR-Novocure Career Development Award for Tumor Treating Fields Research. This award affords me the opportunity to understand the system level effects of TTFields exposure through trans-omics approaches in order to find novel combination therapies that can be translated into tangible benefits for cancer patients.

Chirag B. Patel, MD, PhD

Chirag B. Patel, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Stanford University
Stanford, California
Increasing glioblastoma cell membrane permeability with TTFields

Research
The clinical efficacy of tumor treating fields (TTFields) was first demonstrated in glioblastoma. The anti-cancer effects of TTFields may be explained, at least in part, to TTFields-induced increase in glioblastoma cell membrane permeability. Dr. Patel is set to: (1) determine the optimal TTFields frequency for cell membrane permeabilization in glioblastoma and non-cancer cells; (2) identify the size of maximal membrane disruption due to TTFields; and (3) quantify the amount of chemotherapy entering and retained in glioblastoma upon TTFields exposure.

Biography
Dr. Patel earned his MD/PhD degree from the MD Anderson/UT-Houston Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and UT-Houston Medical School. He completed adult neurology residency at the University of California, Los Angeles, and postdoctoral and clinical fellowships in molecular imaging and adult neuro-oncology, respectively, at Stanford University. He is currently a clinical assistant professor of neurology and, by courtesy, of radiology, at Stanford University. Dr. Patel’s laboratory studies the mechanisms of alternating electric fields (TTFields) in human glioblastoma, to develop novel combination strategies for improved efficacy in this invariably lethal cancer.

Acknowledgment of Support
I am grateful to receive an AACR-Novocure Career Development Award for Tumor Treating Fields Research from the AACR and Novocure. This award will help me transition to independence by expanding on my previous studies focused on novel mechanisms of action of TTFields in glioblastoma, from a translational perspective.