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Sameek Roychowdhury, MD, PhD

Genomic Sequencing of DNA and RNA

Sameek Roychowdhury is a graduate of The Ohio State University, B.S. Molecular Genetics 98', Ph.D. 04', M.D. 06'. He completed his Ph.D. dissertation research with his mentor Michael Caligiuri, M.D., studying cancer immunology and experimental therapeutics. He completed his internal medicine, medical oncology, and post-doctoral training at University of Michigan (2006-2011) with Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D. During his medical oncology fellowship, he trained with Dr. Chinnaiyan in the field of Translational Cancer Genomics and learned to apply cutting edge genomic technologies to further develop an approach for personalized cancer medicine. While at Michigan, he received the Landon Foundation-American Association for Cancer Research's Innovator Award for Personalized Cancer Medicine (2012). He relocated to The Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center in September 2012 and his research lab seeks to co-develop clinical trials that implement therapies through the understanding of an individual patient's cancer gene mutations.

Research Description

What?

Dr. Roychowdhury is a physician scientist in medical oncology whose research asks "What is the right drug for my patient?" and "Why do previously effective drugs stop working?" Understanding how novel molecularly targeted drugs work or fail helps determine rational drug combination. Our strategy is similar to that of tuberculosis and HIV treatment: simultaneously target separate weak points in cancer so that the disease cannot escape one drug. Similarly, the majority of drugs in development for cancer are so called smart drugs that target specific genetic mutations in cancer. Thus for patients who fail standard therapies, we will match their cancer with smart drugs in clinical trials. We will need a means to identify genetic alterations for our patients.

How?

The lab runs a clinical study entitled "Personalized Oncology Through High-Throughout Sequencing" which evaluates individual patients with advanced cancer considering clinical trials and seeks to identify "driving" mutations that match novel molecularly targeted therapies in development. To do this, we use cutting edge genome sequencing technologies, also known as next generation sequencing or massively parallel sequencing. This enables us to look deeply into the molecular or genetic alterations that occur in an individual's cancer. Thereafter, we will match patients based on mutations found in their cancer to clinical trials with corresponding smart drugs.

Through support from the Fore Cancer Research Foundation, we will develop the genomic diagnostic tools for testing patients with advanced cancer. This process entails 1) genomic sequencing of DNA and RNA, 2) bioinformatics (computer) analysis of the genes, 3) experimental determination of genes involved in drug resistance, 4) co-development of clinical trials for molecularly targeted therapies (smart drugs) including inhibitors of BRAF, PI3kinase, fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR), and cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK).