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U-M Medical School receives NCI award to accelerate cancer biomarker discovery

Ann Arbor - The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, announced that SAIC-Frederick, Inc.* has made two-year awards, under a competitive solicitation, totaling $13.4 million to two research teams from ten cancer research institutions. One of the research teams will be led by scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School.

The awards reflect a new collaborative team approach to develop the standard tools and resources needed to accelerate protein biomarker discovery to provide new and highly specific approaches to the early detection and diagnosis of cancer.

Teams of researchers will use transgenic (genetically defined) mouse models of human cancers to study current proteomic technologies, compare results, and provide reference data sets and biological resources for widespread research use throughout the cancer research community. This approach will enable comparability of results among multiple laboratories currently using different proteomic technologies. Common data sets and resources will make it easier to develop and test the next generation of technologies for discovering biomarkers that signal the earliest stages of cancer in humans.

“Proteomics holds enormous potential for the early detection of cancer, but researchers must have standard reagents and reproducible technologies to accelerate the discovery and development of these biomarkers into clinical use,” says Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute. “We believe that this unique network -- with its teams of experts -- will speed up the development of effective proteomic technologies for the benefit of cancer patients and their families.”

“This initiative is a perfect example of how tomorrow's advances in biomedical research and medicine will come from teams of researchers working together to translate discoveries in the basic sciences into new diagnostic tools and treatments for diseases like cancer,” says Allen S. Lichter, M.D., dean of the University of Michigan Medical School. “Institutional cooperation and shared research results will speed the pace of discovery and ensure the fastest possible return on the National Cancer Institute's significant investment in proteomics research.”

One of the proteomics research teams is headed by Samir Hanash, M.D., Ph.D., a research professor in the University of Michigan Medical School and member of the public health sciences division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Other members of the team from U-M include Gilbert S. Omenn, M.D., Ph.D., professor of molecular medicine and genetics in the Medical School and professor of public health in the U-M School of Public Health, and David States , M.D.,Ph.D., professor of human genetics and director of bioinformatics in the Medical School.

The second proteomics research team will be led by Martin McIntosh, Ph.D., and Amanda Paulovich, M.D., Ph.D., of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

*SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation)- Frederick is the operations and technical support contractor for the NCI in Frederick , Md. , operating the NCI-Frederick campus.

For more information on the NCI awards:

Written by Sally Pobojewski


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