SMMART Research at OCSSB

SMMART is a precision medicine research program. It includes a deep research component alongside clinical drug trials that are personalized for each research study participant. Across the span of many weeks, patients with treatment-resistant breast cancers who enroll in the study provide samples that allow us to analyze their biomarkers before, during and after drug treatments and before and after cancer surgery (through analysis of their biopsy specimens). The clinical trials focus on late-stage metastatic breast cancer patients for which other treatments have failed or are no longer working.

The research has multiple approaches, aimed at understand the changes in cells with regard to their biochemical composition, more specifically, their DNA, RNA and protein activity, function, and presence—what scientists call genomics (analysis of DNA composition), transcriptomics (analysis of RNA composition), and proteomics (analysis of protein composition). 

In addition to those biochemical analyses, we also seek to understand the cell structure in detail using many highly advanced imaging as well as traditional cellular inspection methods: multiscale imaging tools, including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), cyclic immunofluorescence, immune cell profiling with cyclic immunohistochemistry, and traditional pathological assessment. During the course of treatment, we monitor patient response to therapy with clinical imaging, circulating tumor DNA sequencing and cancer protein assessment.