Dr. Jayson Parker

Study that started as ROP project published in Cancer Medicine

Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 10:10am

Cancer Medicine has published on February 23, 2021 a study of a large scale analysis done by Dr. Jayson Parker and his ROP students: Does biomarker use in oncology improve clinical failure risk?

Co-authors Ashini Weerashinghe and Zain Shah started this project years ago as ROP Biology students. They subsequently became graduate students and have now graduated.

Ashini Weerasinghe


Ashini Weerasinghe: This was the first research project that I participated in and it paved the way for me for a career in research. The skills I learned with Dr. Parker were transferable across many research settings and I am grateful to have had this opportunity during my undergraduate degree to explore the many fields in associated with biology research. This is the first study that provides systematic evidence that personalized medicine improves success rates of new cancer drugs and I am proud to have been a part of this research.





Zain Shah

Zain Shah: This ROP (research opportunity program) was one of the most fundamental experiences I had as an undergraduate student. Not only did it give me the opportunity to get involved in original research, but expanded my skill set by learning new research methodologies, while acquiring domain specific knowledge. The key transferable skills gained included, excellent presentation skills, information synthesis, database research, collaboration, insight gathering and learning how to partner with experts. This study helps quantify the impact of biomarker use on clinical trial risk (i.e. the likelihood of a clinical trial progressing to the next stage in a drug development program) in oncology across four major disease conditions. The potential benefits of biomarker use include but are not limited to, diminishing costs of development by better patient selection, more cost-effective use of anti-cancer drugs, predicting a patient's response to therapy with more precision, and ultimately, leading to improvements in personalized medicine for the patient. It feels gratifying seeing the team's hard work and collaborative efforts come together in this publication.

Dr. Jayson Parker about ROP:  

Talented students can really shine and produce research that can can pass peer review and appear in some great journals.  For the students, its a real opportunity to see what research is about.  This is important for two reasons:  it helps them better understand research so they can decide on their future commitment to such an undertaking, and it also makes them more informed consumers of research papers, as they move out into the world.  For faculty, students with a little mentoring can go far in many cases, in supporting our respective research undertakings, and at the same time challenge us with new ideas that enriches our own research activities.

Read the paper: Does biomarker use in oncology improve clinical trial failure risk? A large‐scale analysis

Read more: Biomarkers dramatically improve success rates of new cancer drugs: study