The Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) at Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying rare diseases and the timely application of molecular and functional information to improve the lives of patients. One major goal of the IMM is to apply a precision medicine approach for the treatment of children with cancer through translational research. In support of this goal, the IMM at PCH established a laboratory focused on translational research in pediatric cancer to find cures for children with these deadly diseases. IMM researchers Dr. David Azorsa and Dr. Eiman Aleem are using genomic, proteomic and functional genomic technologies to better understand tumor progression, identify novel therapeutic strategies and develop advanced diagnostic assays that can be translated into clinical application. Research areas in pediatric cancer include pediatric leukemia, sarcomas, neuroblastoma, and central nervous system tumors.
Primary focal areas of translational research within the IMM include:
Clinically Actionable Target Identification using Genomic Analysis – Transformative Next Generation Sequencing technology allows for the use of speedy, cost-effective, and complete profiling of a patient’s tumor DNA, transcriptome, and DNA methylation profile for diseases resulting from somatic genetic changes
Complete Cancer Care Diagnostics (C3Dx) for Children – The development and implementation of a first of its kind comprehensive cancer genomic analysis test specifically designed and developed for pediatric patients.
Development of Clinically Relevant Assays - Development of clinical tests for drug sensitivity and resistance testing of ex vivo patient’s samples and the development of an in vitro microenvironment assay for more accurate drug response testing.
Novel therapeutic strategies – This line of research includes: Targeting of master regulators of childhood cancers through promoter G-Quadruplex inhibition, development of new targets of carfilzomib efficacy, and targeting novel mechanisms of cell death in pediatric cancer.