Towards an “Earliest Detection” Assay for Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer

2022 Emerging Leader Award

Kamila Naxerova, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital

Kamila Naxerova, PhD

The incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) in young patients is increasing, and by 2040, early-onset colorectal cancer is predicted to be the top cause of cancer-related death in adults aged 20-49. Stemming the tide of early-onset CRC is an urgent need that will rely on a sound understanding of the underlying causes. Dr. Naxerova’s lab studies the somatic evolution of normal and neoplastic tissues. In this project, her team will use novel lineage tracing methods to investigate how clonal evolution in the normal colon impacts the risk of early-onset colorectal cancer development. These studies will elucidate fundamental biology which can be translated into an “earliest detection” assay to flag patients who are experiencing accelerated somatic evolution

Dr. Naxerova earned her undergraduate degree in molecular biotechnology from Heidelberg University in Germany and her PhD in Human Biology and Translational Medicine from Harvard University. She completed her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. Her lab at the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital studies tumor genetics and somatic evolution.