Clinical and Research Background
The Pritchard laboratory is focused on three areas related to cancer molecular diagnostics:
Cancer Molecular Diagnostics Development for Precision Medicine
A primary focus is to develop innovative molecular diagnostics for the detection of germline and somatic mutations that guide therapeutic decision making. As examples, the lab has developed and validated the “ColoSeq™” and the “UW‑OncoPlex™” assays, which are clinically available at the University of Washington. UW‑OncoPlex™ is a multiplexed next generation sequencing gene panel that detects mutations in tumor tissue in >350 genes related to cancer treatment decision making.
Dr. Pritchard’s laboratory is actively exploring noninvasive methods for sampling cancer mutations including cell‑free microRNA, cell‑free DNA, and circulating tumor cell‑associated nucleic acids. They are investigating pre‑analytic and biological variation that impact serum and plasma circulating nucleic acid biomarker measurements to inform the appropriate use and interpretation of “liquid biopsy” blood tests.
Prostate Cancer Precision Medicine
In collaboration with members of the Pacific Northwest Prostate Cancer SPORE and the PCF/SU2C prostate cancer international dream team, Dr. Pritchard’s laboratory is working in several areas to make precision medicine a reality for men with prostate cancer. Projects include application of UW‑OncoPlex™ for men with prostate cancer, characterization of hypermutation as a predictive biomarker in advanced prostate cancer, and development of novel non‑invasive diagnostics to guide therapy in advanced disease.
Improving Diagnosis of Lynch Syndrome
Lynch syndrome is among the most common causes of genetic predisposition to cancer, and yet it remains underdiagnosed. It is characterized by genetic defects in mismatch DNA repair genes leading to microsatellite instability (MSI) and hypermutation in tumors. Dr. Pritchard’s lab has developed methods to detect MSI and hypermutation from next generation sequencing (NGS) data. Using this technology we developed the first ever first ever tumor‑based NGS test for Lynch syndrome (ColoSeq Tumor).
American Board of Pathology
Molecular Oncology Diagnostics
Academic and Medical Appointments
UWMC, Seattle Children’s
Education and Training
MSTP program Alumni, University of Washington