From Bench to Bedside

Photo of PecotWhen Chad Pecot, MD, was studying biomedical engineering as an undergraduate student at the University of Miami in Florida, his aspiration was to one day create medical devices that could change the lives of patients. But at the age of 20, his life was changed when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

While undergoing treatment at the same university where he was studying, his newfound perspective as a patient led him to start thinking of a different future. Pecot’s experience motivated him to pursue a career in medicine.

Pecot now specializes in caring for patients with lung cancer and conducts research into how various types of RNA promote the spread of cancer. He is the director of the UNC RNA Discovery Center.

“I’m most excited about using engineered RNA molecules as a therapy, which ironically can be used to target ‘bad’ RNAs within the tumor. We recently developed new ways to target these RNA medicines into tumors to interrupt the tumor’s growth,” he said.

Funding helps sustain the forward-thinking research that happens in the Pecot Lab. Seed grant funding is propelling innovative research to create chimeric RNA molecules to target previously “undruggable” cells.

“The UNC Lineberger Tier 2 grant allowed us to develop and optimize the RNA molecule and turn it into a drug, then we were able to see what it was doing in tumor models,” Pecot said. “This recently allowed us to obtain additional funding from the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina, and now we can start studying how the tumor adapts to the drug.”

One of the ultimate goals of the RNA Discovery Center is to see RNA medicines be given to patients being treated at UNC, truly bringing the bench to the bedside.

Learn more about Pecot’s research…