2020 – NITZAN ROSENFELD

Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

MOTIVATION

 
Originally trained as a physicist, Dr Rosenfeld undertook a PhD in Systems Biology. After his PhD, Dr Rosenfeld switched fields to translational cancer research. As Head of Computational Biology at Rosetta Genomics, he led the company’s flagship project on molecular classification of cancer using microRNAs.


Most notably, since joining the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute in 2009 where he leads ground-breaking research on the application of liquid biopsies for cancer, Dr Rosenfeld has been one of the key drivers behind the rapidly growing field of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).

Dr Rosenfeld is a leader in development and implementation of analysis tools for ctDNA based on next generation sequencing (NGS).

His team was first to develop and demonstrate effective methods of gene panel sequencing of cell-free plasma DNA (Forshew et al., Sci Transl Med 2012). They went on to demonstrate the utility of exome-wide sequencing for analysis of ctDNA (Murtaza et al., Nature 2013).

Targeted sequencing of plasma DNA has since become widely used in cancer research and diagnostics. His team and clinical collaborators demonstrated the ability to use ctDNA to study tumor heterogeneity and evolution (Murtaza et al., Nat commun 2015), and provided key evidence for the utility of ctDNA in monitoring cancer response and progression (Parkinson et al., PLoS Med 2016).

Their key publication in the NEJM (Dawson et al. 2013) conclusively demonstrated the advantages of ctDNA over other biomarkers, notably circulating tumor cells (CTCs). These accumulated achievements played a significant role in the explosive growth of the ctDNA field.

Dr Rosenfeld is co-inventor of 10 patents on the use of microRNA in cancer diagnostics, gaving rise to diagnostic tests that are available as a clinical diagnostic service, including tests to identify tissue-of-origin of tumour samples; squamous from non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); and others.
 
Dr Rosenfeld is co-inventor of methods and patents for sensitive detection of tumor genomic alterations in plasma circulating DNA. He is a scientific co-founder of Inivata, a cancer genomics company that has taken methods developed by Dr Rosenfeld and his team and has implemented them as clinical diagnostic tests for molecular stratification of cancer patients where a tumor biopsy is unavailable.

The assay they have developed has been introduced into clinical use and has enabled the treatment of cancer patients by targeted therapies, leading to effective clinical responses. The work by Dr Rosenfeld’s and his team is expanding the scope of analysis to include other body fluids, including urine (Patel et al., Sci Rep 2017) and cerebrospinal fluid. A particular current focus is on detection of earlier cancers, and minimal residual disease following treatment.

 

Dr. Nitzan Rosenfeld, the winner of the Pezcoller Foundation - EACR Cancer Research Award 2020
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