Cynthia Wetmore, MD, PhD
Interim Co-Director for Research
Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Research
Director, Innovative Therapy Program, Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center
Health Sciences Research Building
1760 Haygood Drive, NE
Atlanta, GA, 30322
I am a pediatric oncologist and specialize in providing care for children with brain tumors. I am actively involved in bringing new targeted agents to Phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of children with cancer. While my clinical focus continues to be in providing care for children with brain tumors, I bring two decades of basic science research experience to the design of molecularly-based therapeutic protocols. I also serve as Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research for the Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. I am the inaugural Director of this newly established Center with the primary goal of enhancing the portfolio and profile of translational research for the improvement of health for children in Atlanta and beyond.
As part of my role as Director of the CCTR, it is essential to establish a laboratory to provide support and advice on the conduct of clinical trials throughout the entire research process from initial study design and planning through to the implementation and interpretation of molecular assays of drug targets and genomic correlates of disease. Investigators wishing to include assays of drug target expression and activity, biomarker expression or to explore cellular response to therapy within clinical trials are required to seek these services from research laboratories within the institution on an ad hoc basis. These laboratories may not be well placed to conduct the required studies because of inadequate resources to ensure appropriate data management, technical or regulatory compliance. Therefore, as part of this CCTR it is critical to have a centralized location for these services in a single facility (Molecular Clinical Trials Laboratory) that acquires, processes, archives and analyzes tissues for molecular studies related to pediatric clinical trials.
My role in this project will be to coordinate and supervise the consent of patients, collection of samples, analysis of data and to mentor a junior faculty member in the design and conduct of innovative clinical trials. While the primary goal of this project is to establish a non-invasive way of gaining insight into the molecular basis of a solid tumors, a secondary goal of this pilot project is to generate preliminary data for the future submission an larger external proposal to fund a prospective, molecularly stratified study using a targeted therapeutic agent.