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Kevin M Elias, MD
Instructor, Harvard Medical School

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115


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Research Narrative:

I perform translational studies focused on pathogenesis, early detection, and novel therapeutic strategies related to gynecologic cancers.  I split my time among BWH, DFCI, and MIT.  My laboratory focuses mostly on ovarian cancer.   We are particularly interested in understanding the transition from the normal fallopian tube – ovary interface to early pre-malignant lesions.  To this end, we have been performing epigenetic studies looking at how chromatin becomes remodeled during neoplasia, with a special focus on the role of cell type lineage specific transcription factors in normal tissue function versus cancer.  This has produced two main lines of inquiry.  First, we have created a novel blood test based on serum microRNAs for the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer that we are taking into preclinical studies in anticipation of clinical trials.  The most interesting part of this work is the ability to assign an absolute percentage risk of ovarian cancer to a given patient.  This is a strategy that we have also shown can be adapted to a number of other diseases, including both other cancers and benign conditions.  It combines next generation sequencing with machine learning.  Second, we are creating “nanobots” – nanometer sized delivery systems that interact with transcription factors to attack cancer cells in  a tissue specific manner.  Again, while this work is based on ovarian cancer, the strategy could work in theory for many other cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, melanoma, and endometrial cancer.