OHSU names a leader for the Knight Cancer early detection program

03/15/16  Portland, Ore.

 Druker SESadik Esener, Ph.D., and Brian Druker, M.D.

The Knight Cancer Institute has recruited a leader for its major new initiative on the precision early detection of life-threatening cancers.

Sadik Esener, Ph.D., is one of a very small number of scientific leaders with the right combination of skills, experience and passion to lead the new initiative, said institute director Brian Druker, M.D.
“Our goal requires that we completely reimagine early detection,” Druker said in a news release. “We needed someone with proven skill in both assembling and leading a highly diverse team of life scientists, engineers and computational experts in a unified direction.”
Precision early detection is focused on using molecular knowledge of cancer’s initiating events and early malignant changes to distinguish benign abnormalities from life-threatening nascent cancers – and to find them early enough that treatment can succeed. Existing cancer screening technologies, such as mammography and PSA tests, too often fail to find dangerous cancers while at the same time raising too many alarms about essentially harmless tumors and driving overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment.
Esener, an electrical and computer engineer by training, has made significant contributions in a great variety of fields. In recent years, he’s coauthored papers on nanoparticles for delivering therapeutic cancer vaccines, using microbubbles to isolate tumor cells circulating in the blood, a light-scattering technique to identify microscopic marine organisms, and compact disks that can hold a terabyte of data. He’s led three industry and university consortiums developing advanced optical applications in computing, and also directed a Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Read more at Cancer Translated, the Knight Cancer Institute science blog.