By Susan Van Dusen

Many times, these collaborations exist across institutions, where combined strengths provide the perfect combination of skills necessary to undertake complex projects successfully.

Such is the case with a partnership between the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (UA) that recently resulted in a five-year, $2.03 million R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

It all started with grant recipient Narasimham Rajaram, Ph.D., and his mission to create a method of monitoring a cancer patient’s response to radiation and chemotherapy, allowing for timely changes to the treatment plan if necessary. Rajaram is a UA assistant professor of biomedical engineering.

With conventional treatment and monitoring methods, doctors are unable to determine how well a tumor responds to treatment until after the fact. This includes whether the patient’s tumor completely disappears, shrinks, remains the same or enlarges.