Working to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment.
n his lab at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Viktor Adalsteinsson has put an automated system in place that scans blood samples for traces of tumor DNA—a so-called liquid biopsy. Collecting genetic information on advanced cancers might lead to clues about what drives the disease in later stages and what drugs to give patients. Adalsteinsson, whose mother succumbed to breast cancer while he was earning his PhD, is now looking to improve treatment as part of several projects, including one that sends blood collection tubes to women fighting breast cancer across America. “The doctors and patients cross their fingers and there’s a lot of watching and waiting,” says Adalsteinsson. “Now we can closely monitor patients’ responses to therapy and see what’s causing treatments to fail.”