The Cancer Research Institute of West Tennessee (CRIWT) aims to address two areas of cancer care that are often overlooked: Individualized Cancer Management and Treatment Therapy. Dr. Jerry Thornthwaite founded the CRIWT. He has devoted his clinical research to improving cancer patient care through laboratory procedures to individualize a patient's diagnosis, treatment and follow-up monitoring. He has established oncology laboratories at Cedars Medical Center and Baptist Hospital in Miami, Florida.
The CRIWT is currently raising funds for research in early detection and treatment. The laboratory research that is critically needed includes a more advanced and conclusive measurement of DNA in tumors and body fluids by flow cytometry and further development and utilization of tumor marker assays for various cancers for screening. The CRIWT's goal is that the laboratory research will find its way in a timely manner directly into the environment.
An overview of the objectives of the CRIWT is shown below.
In spite of major advances in the diagnosis, staging and treatment of tissue-related cancers, the overall survival has remained essentially unchanged over the past 25 years.Two laboratory procedures may significantly improve the diagnosis and therapy of primary cancer. These tests include DNA flow cytometry and our Tumor Marker Assay.
Flow cytometry is defined as the measurement of cells (or nuclei) as they flow through a small orifice. It provides a rapid and precise method for measuring the quantity of DNA per nucleus in many thousands of cells in a few minutes. From this test, one can determine if cancer is present by the increase in the amount of DNA (or increase in the number of chromosomes) and how fast the cancer is growing by measuring the percentage of cells in the DNA synthesizing phase of the cell cycle (S-phase). Patients with abnormal amounts of DNA or/and high S-phases have a very poor prognosis and are treated with much more aggressive therapies.
Our research is for investigation of new tumor markers, which are shed by malignant cells, but not by normal cells. Our CAncer REcognition (CARE) test may have significant application in the screening, diagnosis and monitoring of residual cancer that is still present after therapy.
In summary, the CRIWT's research is unique in that it develops diagnostic, prognostic, monitoring and treatment protocols for cancer patients on an individual basis. Customized protocols may be developed using these procedures to more accurately diagnosis a patient's tumor and prescribe the proper treatment.