Preshita Desai, BPharm, PhD

Preshita Desai, BPharm, PhD, received the 2019 AACR-Novocure Tumor Treating Research Fellowship for her project, “Tumor Treating Fields Triggered Targeting of Nanoparticles in Cancer.”

The grant is a joint effort between Novocure and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to recognize and encourage innovative research on Tumor Treating Fields. The fellowship grant — worth $120,000 over two years — also provides related research equipment, the InovitroTM TTFields Lab Bench System, free of charge. Only two such fellowships were awarded via a worldwide call for grant proposals. Click here to read more from Novocure.

Desai is a research scientist in the laboratory of Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy Executive Associate Dean Sunil Prabhu, BPharm, PhD. Receiving the grant marks a professional high point, she said.

“It is an honor to receive the AACR-Novocure Fellowship. This is a critical milestone in my pharmaceutical research career, as it is the first grant I have received as principal investigator,” Desai said. “I am grateful to the College of Pharmacy and my mentor, Dr. Prabhu, for all the support and encouragement. This award gives me a wonderful platform to execute cutting-edge research in cancer management, and I am sure the experience will be very rewarding for my career goals in the future. It is something I always aimed for – to be a principal investigator conducting an exciting research project! This is definitely a jumpstart to my research endeavors and tells me the direction in which I am going is right.”

Novocure is a global oncology company that developed and commercialized Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields), a cancer therapy that uses electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt solid tumor cancer cell division.

Dr. Desai is working on a novel nanoformulation in treating pancreatic cancer that would release anticancer drugs at the tumor sites in presence of TTFields to ensure tumor specificity. The goal is to enhance cancer treatment efficiency and reduce side effects.

Dr. Prabhu will serve as her mentor on this project to guide her through her first grant as PI.

“By winning one of only two highly selective and coveted AACR-Novocure fellowships, Dr. Desai’s project is poised to gain high visibility in cancer research,” Prabhu said. “This effort will not only benefit her personal growth and professional aspirations toward a career in academic pharmacy, but also continue to establish WesternU’s growing tradition in innovative research endeavors.”