Drs. Kirane, Dionne Receive SCI Award

December 5, 2023

Drs. Amanda Kirane and Jennifer Dionne have received funding as one of the Stanford Cancer Institute’s March 2024 SCI Innovation Awards for their project: Label-Free Spatial Profiling of the Tumor Microenvironment for Therapeutic Prediction.

Kirane and Dionne plan to expand upon current precision medicine cancer treatments that harness the power of the patient’s own immune system. In the hopes of identifying which patient’s will respond to treatment without the most servere adverse effects, the team will study the immune ecosystem in cancer tissues, specifically looking at which proteins are in an activated state.

“We have brought together a unique, cross-disciplinary team in engineering, materials science, machine learning, and tumor immunology with the expertise to explore Dr. Dionne's patented meta-surfaces in the enhancement of Raman spectroscopy to distill the cell surface molecules, tissue cellular makeup, and functional activity of tumors at very high resolution.” said Kirane. “In contrast to available assays in this space, our assay is unique in being a purely optical assay, without requiring antibody-labeling or sequencing technologies that are currently extremely expensive and labor-intensive.”

Kirane says the aim of the project is to accelerate the development of assays into precision tests useable in cancer clinics and will study this approach first in a unique sample of melanoma patients. However, they hope their technique could eventually be applied broadly to all cancer types.

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As the Director of Communications for Stanford Surgery, Rachel Baker tells the stories of her department's faculty, staff, and trainees. With the help of an amazing team of content creators, she produces and curates original articles, photos, videos, graphics, and even podcasts.She works personally with each division, center, program, and lab within her purview to define their audience and reach their goals while maintaining a consistent brand voice. She hosts quarterly professional development workshops open to all AEM web authors--please email her if you'd like to join! She also offers both 1:1 and group education to faculty and residents on a variety of topics including media training, using social media to advantage, and presentation refinement. Rachel holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism with a focus on photography from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. A transplant from the DC-area, she still misses foliage and argyle but has happily adopted the official NorCal hobbies of visiting wineries, hiking local trails, and eating avocado.

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