Epic Sciences' Chief Scientific Officer Dena Marrinucci, Ph.D., was named today by Foreign Policy magazine as one of this year's 100 Leading Global Thinkers. Marrinucci will be honored at a gala in Washington, D.C. this evening.
Marrinucci received the recognition for her efforts in developing a unique and novel approach to detect rare, circulating cancer cells through a non-invasive blood draw (also called a "liquid biopsy"). The Epic Sciences no cell left behind® platform uses innovative imaging and software to reveal tumor cells spreading cancer through the bloodstream and analyzes each of the tumor cells identified for hallmarks of drug response and resistance. This enables real-time assessments of a patient's constantly evolving cancer and the personalization of medications from a simple blood draw.
"The platform we have developed at Epic Sciences addresses oncology's next frontier — the heterogeneity of cancer," says Marrinucci. "The unfortunate reality is that tumors contain many distinct subpopulations of cells that each develop in their own way, which is why a drug may be effective against part of a tumor while the remainder continues to grow. This heterogeneity is why a single drug approach to treating cancer can be so ineffective — and why knowing the complete profile of the individual tumor cells driving disease can help identify a personalized cocktail of drugs that target as many cancer cells as possible. We are working on getting this kind of resolution starting with a simple blood draw using the Epic Sciences platform."
The Epic Sciences liquid biopsy platform stands apart from other liquid biopsy techniques because it detects circulating tumor cells (CTCs) without bias. Other approaches aim to isolate CTCs based on size or singular biomarkers, which will result in missing clinically important cell types.
Epic Sciences' CTC technology has been integrated into over 60 clinical trials with more than 30 biotech and pharmaceutical companies to explore new biomarkers, understand the mechanism of action of targeted drugs and for the future development of companion diagnostic tests.
For the past 45 years, Foreign Policy magazine has covered global politics, economics and transformative ideas. Each year, the publication compiles a list of 100 of the world's preeminent leaders, advocates, innovators, artists, government officials and visionaries that have translated important ideas into action to change the world. Past honorees include Elon Musk, Jennifer Doudna, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Emmanuelle Charpentier.
Earlier this year, Dr. Marrinucci's entrepreneurial spirit was also recognized in both the MIT Technology Review's 35 Innovators Under 35 list and PharmaVOICE 100 list for co-founding Epic Sciences.