Research Dollars at Work

Byrne Family Cancer Research Institute

This year, Dartmouth Cancer Center’s ability to conduct game-changing research has taken a massive step forward, thanks to an incredible $25 million dollar gift from Dorothy Byrne. The new Byrne Family Cancer Research Institute will elevate and accelerate all research efforts coming out of the Cancer Center. This initial commitment will establish an interdisciplinary cancer research institute that will strengthen collaborations between Dartmouth Cancer Center, Dartmouth Health and Dartmouth College to fast-track world-class scientific discoveries from the laboratory directly to cancer patients in our region and around the world.

We are endlessly grateful to the Byrne family for its continued support of the Prouty and our Cancer Center.

Prouty Pilot Research Projects

At Dartmouth Cancer Center, we know that ground-breaking research and clinical trials are the only way to bring us closer to a world without cancer. That’s why every year, funds raised through the Prouty are funneled into Prouty Pilot Research Projects, fueling scientists and researchers who are dedicated to discovering better treatments and cures for our patients.

Here are just a few ways that funds raised for the 2021 Prouty are being put to work by our intrepid researchers.

Making Cancer Treatment Less Toxic

Recent discoveries show that radiation delivered at a much higher-than-normal dose rate treats tumors with much less, if any, damage to the normal healthy tissue. This is known as the FLASH effect.

Chun-Chieh Lin, MD, PhD, with mentors Brian Pogue, PhD, and Jack Hoopes, DVM, PhD, are exploring this phenomenon by analyzing how and why normal cells and tumor cells respond differently to FLASH.

"Radiation therapy regimens are often put on hold due to toxicity to the patient’s normal tissue. With a better understanding of FLASH, we could improve current deliveries to a safer, less-toxic and potentially more effective mode, having a tremendous impact on patients’ length and quality of life."

Changing the Way We Diagnose Lung Cancer

When suspicious nodules in the lungs turn up on CT scans, an often-recommended approach is active monitoring. Unfortunately, that approach can prolong diagnosis and treatment of potential lung cancer, which can directly affect outcomes.

Ethan K. Murphy, PhD, and mentor Ryan Halter, PhD, are devising better, non-invasive methods for early diagnosis of lung nodules by imaging the electrical properties of tissue and pairing this data with a CT scan.

"This non-invasive, low-cost, non-ionizing technology could be collected after any indeterminate lung nodule is found via CT,” says Murphy. “The data provided could mean a much earlier diagnosis and getting patients into treatment sooner, or fewer unnecessary scans and invasive procedures in the event the nodules are not cancerous."

Improving Diagnosis & Treatment for Invasive Meningioma

Chun-Chieh Lin, MD, PhD, and co-Principal Investigator George J. Zanazzi, MD, PhD, will use a new technique called digital spatial profiling to identify biomarkers of invasive meningioma, the most common central nervous system tumor. Understanding these biomarkers can lead to new, highly-targeted treatments for meningioma, and could also be used as a new method for diagnosis.

"There is a high incidence of central nervous system tumors in New Hampshire and Vermont. We are using new techniques to understand these tumors better and to come up with new treatments and diagnostic methods," says Zanazzi.

These are just a few of the Prouty Pilot Projects funded by the 2021 Prouty. Thank you to all of our participants, volunteers and supporters for making every one of these research projects - and more - possible.

Learn more about research projects funded by The Prouty.

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