Donate to Cancer Research

Nicholas E. Navin, PhD

Nicholas E. Navin, PhD

[Nadia’s Gift Foundation Innovator]

Tumors evolve from single cells. As they expand to form the tumor mass, the cells diverge and form distinct subpopulations with different genetic mutations. This salient characteristic is called “intratumor heterogeneity” and confounds basic research and clinical diagnostics. The challenge is that standard genomic tools require a large amount of input material and thus are limited to measuring an average signal from a complex population of cells. 

Dr. Navin proposes the development of an innovative single-cell sequencing tool that can detect genomic mutations in single cancer cells, allowing heterogeneity in tumors to be delineated. He will apply this technique to study how single breast cancer cells disseminate from the primary tumor into the circulatory system and seed metastatic tumors. In addition, this method will have a myriad of clinical applications, which have prognostic value in predicting invasion, metastasis, survival and response to chemotherapy. Translating these methods into the clinic is likely to have a profound effect on reducing morbidity in breast cancer and other cancer types.


Project Title: "Developing single-cell sequencing methods to investigate metastatic seeding in breast cancer"

Institution: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s):

Cancer Type: Breast

Research Area: Genomics