Dr. Markowitz, who is an alumnus investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and his team played an intimate role in developing the new technology for DNA screening for colon cancer. They discovered a specific DNA change, methylation of the vimentin gene, which takes place in colon cancers, and then developed techniques for sensitively detecting this change in DNA shed from colon cancers in the stool. Their technology has been licensed by EXACT Sciences Corporation for commercial development and expanded to include a larger panel of genes.
"This is true translational research, bringing a discovery from the laboratory to the patient care setting," says Li Li MD, PhD, the study's basic investigator, family medicine physician at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Information gained from this study may have significant and immediate implication for the clinical practice of screening and primary prevention of colon cancer."
The five-year study aims to recruit 1,600 patients who are scheduled for screening colonoscopy at UH Case Medical Center and UH community-based practices. Researchers will explore sDNA's efficacy in detecting large polyps, specifically advanced adenomas, which have a higher likelihood of progression to colorectal cancer.
The study is funded as part of the National Cancer Institute's Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancers award to Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The $11.3 million SPORE grant focuses on translational research aimed at reducing the incidence and deaths from colon cancers and from cancers of the esophagus.
"Among our guiding principles is to pursue and implement breakthrough medical advancements and practices to deliver
|Contact: Alicia Reale|
University Hospitals Case Medical Center