Researcher Spotlight: Sandeep Dave, MD, MS

Duke University Medical Center

“Even as progress has been made in a number of cancers, the options for MCL patients remain disappointingly narrow,” says Dr. Dave.  He and his colleagues are seeking to expand those options through their Lymphoma Research Foundation Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) Therapeutic Studies Grant project, which will use patient data collected through the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Canada Intergroup Study E1411.  One of the largest clinical trials ever conducted in lymphoma, E1411 collected a number of patient samples after diagnosis but prior to treatment, before the patients received one of four treatments available on the trial.  Dr. Dave and his team will analyze those samples to identify biomarkers that predict how those patients responded to treatment.  If correlations between biomarkers and the outcomes of certain therapies are found, future patients whose tumors have those biomarkers can be directed to the therapy regimen that is the most likely to be effective.  “Our work will define the characteristics of MCL tumors that are most likely to respond to different therapies,” Dr. Dave says, “We thus hope to develop the foundations for personalized medicine in MCL.”

Dr. Dave is Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, where he is also Director of the Cancer Genetics and Genomics Program.  He received an MD, MBA, and an MS in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, where he also completed his residency, before a clinical fellowship at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) where he was also a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Louis Staudt.  A member of the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board and Mantle Cell Lymphoma Consortium, this is Dr. Dave’s first funding from the Foundation. “LRF’s funding will allow us to directly define the molecular characteristics of responders in one of the largest clinical trials of MCL ever performed,” he notes. “These results will allow us to preferentially treat patients with those therapies that are most likely to help them.”

Dr. Dave is also committed to the success of the next generation of lymphoma research. He has sponsored multiple recipients of Lymphoma Research Foundation Young Investigator grants, including 2018 LRF Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant recipient Jennifer Shingleton, PhD. In addition, he regularly serves as visiting faculty for the Lymphoma Clinical Research Mentoring Program (LCRMP), where he gives junior clinical investigators a crash course in cancer genomics. Dr. Dave sees his ultimate commitment as inspired by those who are living with lymphomas.  “In the end, all of our work is motivated by a desire to improve outcomes for our patients.”

For more on the Foundation’s MCL Therapeutic Grants and the 2018 Mantle Cell Lymphoma Scientific Workshop, see the 2018 Summer Research Report.

To learn more about MCL, visit the Mantle Cell Lymphoma Learning Center.