weinman winners photo
From left, Linda Wong, Maarit Tiirikainen, Min-Ae Song and Sandi Kwee

The University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center has awarded researchers Sandi Kwee, Maarit Tiirikainen, Linda Wong and Min-Ae Song the 2012 Weinman Innovator Award for translational research. Their proposal, “Liver Cancer Detection Using Tumor DNA Isolated from the Blood,” was selected from five other proposals.

The team will use the $50,000 award to isolate and characterize free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) from the bloodstream of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer. These efforts could lead to new methods for diagnosing HCC, as well as enhance strategies for customizing treatments based on the individual genetics of a patient’s tumor.

“Our team is truly grateful to the Weinman Foundation for supporting efforts to translate cancer research into cancer care,” said Kwee.

The Weinman Innovator Award is presented annually and is a vital piece of philanthropic support that promotes and rewards excellence in translational research among the cancer center’s faculty and staff. The award is funded through a $1.7 million Weinman Foundation Fund for Innovation endowment provided by Virginia and Barry Weinman to support the development of innovative diagnostic as well as therapeutic approaches to curing cancer.

Adapted from a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa news release.