Niloy Jewel (Jewel) Samadder, M.D.

Niloy Jewel Samadder, M.D., received a Center for Individualized Medicine Gerstner Family Career Development Award in 2018.
  • Senior Associate Consultant, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science
  • Area of research: Hereditary cancer syndromes

What sparked your interest in individualized medicine?

Cancer genetics is a new and developing area within gastroenterology.

I completed my postgraduate gastroenterology training at the University of Michigan, where I developed a clinical and research focus on cancer predisposition with Stephen Gruber, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., who later became the director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

After fellowship, I moved to the University of Utah from 2011 to 2016 to access the unique hereditary cancer population, medical and genealogic resources available at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and mentorship under Randall W. Burt, M.D. There, I worked as part of the team that cloned the APC gene.

Under Dr. Burt's mentorship, I developed a clinical and research focus in cancer predisposition syndromes and ran one of the largest clinical trials to look at a chemoprevention drug to prevent cancer in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).

What is your focus as a Gerstner Family Career Development Award recipient?

The primary goal of my research is to validate tissue-specific methylated DNA marker combinations for the highest risk hereditary cancer syndromes: Lynch, FAP and BRCA.

My team's goal is to develop a single noninvasive test using methylated DNA markers for detection of multiple cancers using a single sample of blood or stool. Our research could produce a new screening paradigm in populations who have these high-risk syndromes, and may lead to a strategy allowing for a universal cancer screening tool based on blood or stool testing of molecular markers for multiple cancer sites.

How will your research improve patient care?

Hereditary cancer syndromes have been associated with a 60% to 100% lifetime risk of developing gastrointestinal and breast-ovarian cancers. Given the substantial danger of cancer, Mayo Clinic recommends that patients with high-risk hereditary cancer syndromes follow rigorous screening protocols, which include invasive screening procedures such as annual advanced imaging or flexible endoscopy as well as prophylactic surgeries.

Although screening does reduce cancer mortality, this approach has significant limitations, including false-positives and morbidity and disfigurement from prophylactic surgery. Thus, better approaches for screening and early detection are needed in those with hereditary cancer syndromes. My research seeks to meet that need.

How has the Gerstner Family Career Development Award helped advance your research?

This award will enable me to accomplish two goals:

  • Assemble a well-characterized cohort of participants with high-risk inherited cancer syndromes — BRCA1/2, Lynch and FAP.
  • Use participant's tissue samples to discover and validate specific-methylated DNA marker combinations for the detection of breast-ovarian and gastrointestinal cancers in these high-risk populations.

This study will provide critical preliminary data for an independent investigator grant to develop a stool and blood marker panel based on the methylated DNA marker combinations found in this study, and validate its sensitivity and specificity in a clinical trial of patients with BRCA1/2 or Lynch syndrome. Eventually, I hope to apply such a marker panel as a single noninvasive test that can screen for multiple cancers in patients who are at high risk.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to explore research?

I was recruited to the Mayo Clinic's campus in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, to help establish a practice in cancer genetics both in Arizona and across the enterprise, and to develop a research program that will attract chemoprevention clinical trials and a translational cancer biomarker discovery program.

I saw the vast opportunities to develop a clinical program in cancer genetics, not just locally with the newly opened Cancer Center on the Phoenix campus but the ability to develop an inherited-cancers service line throughout Mayo Clinic, with the support of the Center for Individualized Medicine.

The inherited-cancers service line offered state-of-the-art, comprehensive multigene testing to all patients with solid-organ cancer who received care at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona in 2018. It also provided the necessary follow-up to ensure appropriate cancer prevention screening and at-risk relative identification. My team's goal is to expand this cancer genetics service to all of Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Centers.