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Project-related grant support


R01 – PAR-22-105                                                  Roberts, Alexander (MPI)

Implementation of Sequencing Based Diagnostic Platforms for Pediatric Oncology LMIC

A paucity of research on implementation of sequencing-based diagnostics and subsequent ethical considerations in LMIC health contexts represents an urgent need to develop strategies and resources that can facilitate their implementation globally. This project will produce a comprehensive implementation plan so that sequencing-based diagnostics can be integrated into research and clinical workflows in LMIC.


R01 – PAR-22-242                                                  Wang, Alexander, Aijaz (MPI)                    

Characterization of Diverse Pediatric Cancers in LMIC Using Low-Cost Nanopore Sequencing

Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) RNA sequencing provides a transformative low-cost, flexible, and scalable approach, with potential for broad applicability to the diagnosis of most pediatric cancers. We propose to develop and validate a cost-effective nanopore sequencing-based platform to characterize diverse pediatric leukemia. lymphoma solid tumors in Pakistan; in a step toward curing more children with cancer globally.


Lineberger CCC Developmental Award, Tier 1      Wang (PI)                                                     2/2024 – 1/2025

Adaptive Whole Genome Sequencing for Prospective Genomic Characterization of Acute Leukemia

We have demonstrated proof of principle that ONT adaptive whole genome sequencing has the potential to provide clinically relevant genomic information currently provided by traditional diagnostic testing for B-ALL.  Our goal is to prospectively validate and collect implementation data for a novel classification approach for B-ALL that, compared with standard cytogenetics, will be more comprehensive, less expensive, with faster turnaround time, and with the flexibility to quickly adapt to future clinical classification needs in B-ALL and other malignancies.


R21 – CA259926-01A1                                             Alexander and Wang (MPI)                        7/2022 – 6/2024

Novel Sequencing Based Diagnostics for Leukemia in Low Resource Settings                     

We have discovered that low-cost, shallow-depth, long-read Oxford Nanopore RNA sequencing can accurately classify acute leukemia lineage and genomic subtypes. We will perform technical and computational validation in a low resource setting, enhance our computational pipelines for gene expression-based subtype classification, and develop computational approaches to detect fusion transcripts and inferred aneuploidy, resulting in a subtype agnostic, cost-effective sequencing solution to specific global challenges in cancer diagnostics.


T32 – 2T32CA057726-31                                           Busby                                                         7/2022 – 6/2024

Cancer Control Education Program – Implementation of Sequencing-Based Diagnostics for Pediatric Cancer in Resource-Limited Settings: Barriers and Opportunities


Carolina For The Kids Faculty Research Grant          Alexander (PI)                                         4/2020 – 10/2021

Novel RNA Sequencing Based Diagnostic Testing for Leukemia                                               Amount: $40,000

In low resource settings, tests to differentiate lymphoid- from myeloid leukemia, or to stratify biologic risk for therapeutic decisions, are often unavailable. Our team will develop a novel application of nanopore RNA-seq through optimization of tissue processing, sequencing conditions, computational algorithms, and economic analysis that can rapidly translate into clinical research to improve diagnostic ability in low resource settings.


Lineberger CCC Global Oncology Program                Alexander (PI)                                         2/2019 – 10/2019

Global Pediatric Oncology – Developmental Research                                                               Amount: $7,500

Collaborations with The Aslan Project (Ethiopia) and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and many others across the University of North Carolina in areas of technology development and program implementation