Our doctoral student, Aditi Patel, was among a select few researchers globally to receive the Global Scholar-In-Training Award (GSITA) from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Aditi works in the area of oral cancer prognosis at the School of Arts and Sciences and is mentored by Vivek Tanavde, Associate Professor, Biological and Life Sciences division at the School. Awarded to early-career investigators in countries building cancer research capacities, the GSITA recognition enhances the education, training, and professional network of scientists from these countries engaged in basic, clinical, translational, or epidemiological cancer research. Aditi says, “The present conventional treatment strategies for Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC) include repetitive invasive biopsies which are quite challenging and potentially risky for patients. My research focuses on identifying salivary exosomal miRNA biomarkers, using non-invasive liquid biopsy techniques that would facilitate early diagnosis and better prognosis of OSCC.”
Recently, Aditi was part of the team of researchers of Ahmedabad University’s Oral Cancer Cluster and doctors from the Department of Head and Neck Oncology, HCG Cancer Centre, Ahmedabad, to have made a breakthrough discovery that promises to alter the invasive method of conventional biopsy in oral cancer patients. Their study led to the discovery of a novel miRNA in the saliva of patients that will help predict tumour aggressiveness and better prognosis of oral cancer. Essentially, instead of recurrent invasive biopsies to monitor the growth rate of the cancerous tumour and the efficacy of treatment, oral cancer patients will just need to spit a couple of times into a tube. Besides Aditi and Professor Tanavde, the research team included Shanaya Patel, DBT Wellcome India Alliance Early Career Researcher at Ahmedabad University; and senior oncologists Dr Kaustubh Patel and Dr Dushyant Mandlik of the HCG Cancer Centre. Their study on salivary exosomal miRNA-1307 was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, a leading journal in the area of molecular diagnostics.