Clinical OMICS

MAR-APR 2017

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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4 Clinical OMICs March/April 2017 News The four winning teams are: • A project led by Mike Stratton, M . D . , Ph . D . , at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, U . K . , with collaborators from France, the U . S . , and U . K . , will study cancer samples from five continents to detail the DNA damage associated with different cancers in order to understand what causes them, and if they can be prevented . • Research to distinguish between those women with DCIS (a condition that can develop into breast cancer) who need treatment and those who don't, to reduce overtreatment of the condition . The project will be led by Jelle Wesseling, M . D . , Ph . D . , at the Netherlands Cancer Institute with collaborators from the U . S . , U . K . , and the Netherlands . • The third project team will be headed by Josephine Bunch, Ph . D . , at the National Physical Laboratory, London . Dr . Bunch's team will develop a method to combine new and existing technologies to create virtual representations of tumors, and a global database that catalogs their genetic make-up and metabolism . Collaborators hail from the U . S . and multiple research centers in the U . K . • The final team aims to create a VR 3D tumor map that will allow scientists and doctors to examine—for the first time and in unprecedented detail—the cellular and molecular make-up of a patient's entire tumor to improve diagnosis and treatment for the disease . This project will be led by Greg Hannon, Ph . D . , at the University of Cambridge, with collaborators from Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, the U . S . , and U . K . Dr. Stratton, who will lead the effort to find the behavioral and environmental factors that can cause cancer by damag- ing the DNA of human cells, perhaps epitomizes the mind- set CRUK leaders value when making their award choices . "The first thing that is really exciting me is the challenge of making it happen," Dr. Stratton said. "The thing I'm most looking forward to is seeing the answers—to seeing the DNA sequences roll off the machines and begin to see the patterns." While the work of the four teams will seek to break import- ant new ground in our understanding of cancer, there is also a sense of pragmatism as they embark on their work . "We don't necessarily expect . . . that you will totally suc- ceed," said Dr. Klausner addressing the four team leaders in a press event announcing the awards . "The leap we are hoping [for], and that we are hoping you will take, represent leaps that haven't been taken before . But we are absolutely convinced that the journeys you all, and your colleagues, are about to take will make this all worthwhile." (continued from previous page) Michigan's Karmanos Cancer Institute in collaboration with Wayne State Uni- versity School of Medicine has received a $9 million grant from the NCI to con- duct the nation's largest study of African American cancer survivors. Researchers will look to better understand the dis- proportionately high incidence and mortality from cancer seen in the Afri- can American patient population. According to principal investigators Ann G. Schwartz, Ph.D., professor and deputy center director, and Terrance Albrecht, Ph.D., the Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors (Detroit ROCS) study will include 5,560 cancer survivors to better understand major factors affect- ing cancer progression, recurrence, mortality, and quality of life in African American cancer survivors. "Disparities in cancer survivorship that disproportionately burden Afri- can Americans are the product of the complex interactions occurring among genetic and biological factors and social, behavior, and environmental factors," Dr. Schwartz said. "It is crucial that we better understand why African Americans are often diagnosed with cancer at higher rates and why survival after that diagnosis is lower than in other populations." The Detroit ROCS study will focus on lung, breast, prostate, and colorec- tal cancers—the four most common cancers—each of which is marked by poorer survival rates among blacks than whites. Multiple factors contribute to poorer survival among African Americans with cancer, but most studies lack sufficient participants to adequately study these factors. Researchers will investigate the factors that may affect cancer survival such as type of treatment, genetics, social structures, support, neighbor- hood context, poverty, stress, racial dis- crimination, literacy, quality of life, and behaviors such as smoking, alcohol use, diet, and physical activity. Karmanos, Wayne State University to Research Factors Affecting African Americans with Cancer monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

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