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The one hundred honoree: Miguel N. Rivera, MD

Innovation Story

The one hundred honoree: Miguel N. Rivera, MD

Mass General Giving

Cutting-edge technologies can reveal new targets for treatments against cancer. The laboratory of Miguel Rivera, MD, is using new genomic techniques to study how cancer cells abnormally activate or silence genes. Their findings may soon provide some very significant new directions for cancer therapy.

Dr. Rivera is an attending physician in the Center for Integrated Diagnostics at Mass General and an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology and the Center for Cancer Research. He graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed his Anatomic Pathology residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a fellowship in Molecular Diagnostics at the Harvard Combined Program. During his postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Rivera used genomic tools to detect DNA alterations in pediatric tumors and identified the tumor suppressor gene WTX, which is implicated in both tumor formation and stem cell biology.

As one of the independent investigators at the Center for Cancer Research, Dr. Rivera joins 40 other researchers who are contributing to discoveries that will fundamentally change the way that physicians understand and treat cancer. Dr. Rivera’s laboratory focuses on analyzing several types of pediatric tumors using new technologies to find active and inactive states in the genome. Using this approach, Dr. Rivera seeks to identify molecular pathways that drive pediatric tumors and that are necessary for the survival of tumor cells.

Given that the mechanisms that drive pediatric tumors are poorly understood at present, this work is already pointing to several new therapeutic targets for these diseases.