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Department Professors Move Through Dartmouth Innovations Accelerator for Cancer (DIAC)

In May, the teams were awarded a total of $450,000 in grant funding. For researchers like Brock Christensen, Professor of Epidemiology at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, the funds will accelerate the pace of research.

Christensen is working with Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Lucas Salas on technology that will use epigenetic markers on DNA to predict which cancer patients will respond to immunotherapy treatments. All of us here at the Cancer Center have seen the great promise of immunotherapy, but the unfortunate reality is that up to 80% of patients who try immunotherapies don’t respond to the treatment.

Christensen and Salas’ work will save time and empower patients and their providers to make more informed decisions by identifying which patients will and won’t respond to available immunotherapies. Patients who won’t benefit can pursue other treatment options, like clinical trials. The technology will also enable drug companies to identify who their therapies will benefit and modify their eligibility for clinical trials in order to help more cancer immunotherapy treatments make it to market.

The DIAC funding will help Christensen and Salas process samples five times faster than they were able to previously. That means this life-changing technology could begin impacting patient’s lives sooner.

Read more about their work, the mission of DIAC and the impact of funding awarded to the first cohort one year later. If you have an idea for a new therapeutic, medical device, or diagnostic to help fight cancer, click here to apply to be in the 3rd Cohort of the Dartmouth Innovations Accelerator for Cancer.