Dr. Michael Kinnaman, MMF Research Fellow, shares his research summary

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Dear Margaux’s Miracle Foundation,

I am honored to be the recipient of the Margaux Grossman Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). I am incredibly thankful for the foundation’s continued support of MSKCC pediatric fellows and our research efforts. I hope my research honors Margaux’s legacy and improves outcomes for children who are diagnosed with these challenging diseases.

I am currently a third-year fellow conducting research in Dr. Christine Iacobuzio’s laboratory at MSKCC. Dr. Iacobuzio’s lab focuses on studying how cancer evolves, or changes and adapts over time, to a point where it spreads from the original site of disease to other organs in the body. My research specifically focuses on applying my lab’s expertise to studying different types of pediatric sarcomas. I currently have two active projects studying cancer evolution in both osteosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma.

To help improve therapy and our understanding of these diseases, my project’s goal is to characterize the tumor cells that are resistant to our current therapy. To do this we will be doing whole genome sequencing which allows us to map out the entire genetic code of a cancer cell on patients’ tumor samples at different time points throughout treatment. We will then compare the genetic makeup of each sample to the samples collected from earlier in a patient’s treatment to see how the tumor has changed. This will allow us to not only identify the resistant tumor cells but also characterize and describe their genetic makeup. We hope this new information will lead to new treatment and treatment strategies that are specifically targeted towards these resistant tumor cells, improving outcomes for patients with pediatric sarcomas.

We are very excited about the potential of these two projects to improve outcomes for patients diagnosed with pediatric sarcomas. We believe these projects will be successful and form our future research goals which will be directed at studying cancer evolution in translocation driven pediatric sarcomas such as Ewing’s sarcoma. Margaux’s Miracle Foundation’s continued sponsorship of fellows at MSKCC is critical in supporting us through our most formative years as young investigators and I am honored to help carry forward the mission of the foundation with my research efforts.

Sincerely,

Michael Kinnaman, M.D.