Florida International University

Transforming Cancer Treatment

Treating cancer isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Researchers at Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work are working on using a new functional precision medicine approach to guide personalized cancer therapies in real-time.

Discover the impact of patient-centric medicine

Functional Precision Medicine Advantage

FIU cancer researcher Diana Azzam and her lab collaborated with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and conducted a first-of-its-kind clinical trial to guide personalized treatments for some of the deadliest children’s cancers using a unique functional precision medicine (FPM) approach.

As part of the trial, researchers analyzed and exposed samples of patients' own tumor tissue to more than 120 FDA-approved drugs. Researchers provided the patients’ physicians with the most effective cancer-fighting recommendations for their specific diagnosis.

According to the feasibility study’s results, published in Nature Medicine, 83% of patients who received guided treatments showed improvement. This method provided safer, more readily accessible, effective and affordable options to doctors.

Read the full press release: English | Español


Patients who received guided treatments showed improvement.

  • Patient Spotlight

    Logan Jenner was three years old when doctors diagnosed him with acute myeloid leukemia. After years of treatment, his cancer returned. Out of treatment options, he became a candidate for Azzam’s clinical trial.

    As a trial participant, a sample of his tumor was tested to determine which medications were most effective against his cancer. Those tests guided his treatment, and in 33 days, he reached remission and remains cancer-free today, more than two years later.

    Read the full story

Play Video
Trial participant Logan Jenner and FIU cancer researcher Diana Azzam featured on Good Morning America.

Advancing Precision Medicine Research

The Azzam Lab is continuing its cancer research and actively recruiting participants for additional clinical studies in Florida, seeking to demonstrate that functional precision medicine is a viable approach to treating cancer.

  • Recruiting

    Ex Vivo Drug Sensitivity Testing and Multi-Omics Profiling

    This study will explore the feasibility of providing access to personalized treatment options and clinical management recommendations based on FPM to pediatric cancer patients.

    Principal Investigators:
    Diana Azzam, Florida International University 
    Maggie Fader, MD, Nicklaus Children's Hospital

    Learn more about this trial

  • Recruiting

    FPM for the Treatment of Adult Cancers

    Trial participants will undergo drug sensitivity tests and genomic screening. Treating physicians will receive testing results to determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient.

    Principal Investigators:
    Diana Azzam, Florida International University 
    Jorge Manrique-Succar, MD, Cleveland Clinic Florida

    Learn more about this trial

About the Azzam Lab

Diana Azzam, assistant professor at Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, and her team of researchers at the Azzam Lab study advanced cancers through:

  • Functional precision medicine
  • Investigating the cells responsible for cancer relapse and metastasis
  • Examining environmental toxins that can lead to cancer

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Get to Know Stempel College

Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work is home to innovative research programs and centers powered by faculty, staff, and students who parse problems to find answers at an accelerated pace. Stempel College ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 15 overall for NIH funding among public schools of public health. Our unique geography at the intersection of the Americas in Miami, Florida, drives us to solve complicated health and social welfare matters afflicting the most underserved populations.

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Learn how you can get involved or enrolled in our current clinical trials.

Featured In

  • ABC News
  • The Miami Herald
  • El País
  • STAT