Arul M. Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D. is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, American Cancer Society Research Professor, and S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology and Urology at the University of Michigan. He also serves as the inaugural Director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology (MCTP) which is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of investigators focused on translating “-Omic” technologies to patient care in terms of biomarkers and novel therapeutics. He has co-authored over 350 manuscripts and has been designated an A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute Scholar and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). He serves on the Board of Scientific Advisors for the National Cancer Institute.
His group has characterized a number of important biomarkers of prostate cancer including AMACR, EZH2, the sarcosine metabolite, and most recently the long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) Schlap1. AMACR is being used clinically across the country in the assessment of cancer in prostate needle biopsies. His landmark study thus far is the discovery of TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions in prostate cancer. TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions are specific markers of prostate cancer as well as presumably function as rational targets for this disease. This finding potentially redefines the molecular basis of prostate cancer as well as other common epithelial cancers. Staining for the most common gene fusion product, TMPRSS2-ERG, is available in pathology laboratories for molecular subtyping of prostate cancer and the assessment of clinically challenging foci assessed by prostate needle biopsy. Since mid-2013, detection of TMPRSS2-ERG combined with the lncRNA PCA3 in urine (called the MiPS test) is available in CLIA reference laboratories for the detection of clinically significant prostate cancer (licensed and developed with Gen-Probe/Hologic). Currently he is looking for ways to target this gene fusion as well as discover similar gene fusions in other common epithelial tumors such as those derived from the breast, lung, and colon. Dr. Chinnaiyan also led the development of the popular cancer profiling bioinformatics resource called Oncomine (www.oncomine.org). Most recently, he has been involved in developing high-throughput clinical sequencing approaches for precision oncology (i.e., the MI-ONCOSEQ project). This has led to a number of discoveries including the pathognomomic gene fusion for solitary fibrous tumor (SFT), targetable FGFR kinase fusions across a diverse array of cancers, and mutations in ESR1 as a common resistance mechanism of endocrine therapy in breast cancer. More recently, a substantial portion of his lab is exploring RNA-seq methods to decipher the landscape of lncRNAs in cancer including in depth mechanistic and biomarker analyses of the lncRNAs Schalp1, PCAT1, PCAT29 and PCA3 among others.