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Gaining a Greater Understanding of Disease at the Molecular Level

In a field that’s changing at an incredibly rapid pace, our molecular biology research team is constantly adapting, growing and learning to bring clinicians the latest and best tools to do the innovative research they want and need to do.

Although our team is part of the hematology and oncology groups at Levine Cancer Institute, it works in collaboration with a number of different research groups within Atrium Health to find the answers to why cells act the way they do, why disease progresses as it does, and how clinicians can intervene in a more effective way.

A Revolutionary Approach to Molecular Research

Our molecular biology research team has developed a way to isolate stem cells with antigens that are expressed on a cell’s surface. This allows us to do a more thorough analysis of how specific cells differ from others – which then provides a clearer picture regarding how to treat or eradicate them.

Our current research efforts include:

  • Collaborating with a clinician to characterize the molecular aspects of stem cells in various types of leukemia. These cells are believed to be the progenitors of cancerous cells in the blood, so gaining a better understanding of them could lead to better treatments.
  • Exploring the immune profile of blood disorders – such as multiple myeloma – to get a better sense of the microenvironment that’s either suppressing the immune system or finding a way to boost immune response. This involves developing techniques to sequence cells that are involved in immune response.
  • Working with various studies to help determine which patients benefit most from immunotherapies and trying to monitor the response to the therapies to get a better understanding of the best ways to use them.
  • Looking at certain subtypes of sarcoma, including different mutations, in ways that will inform better treatments.
  • Developing custom panels that target specific genes suspected of being involved in disorders and that identify mutations.

In addition to our research work, diagnostic testing is also offered – including pharmacogenomics.