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UNC awarded Cancer Genome Atlas grant
Date:9/30/2009

a tumor is a tumor," he added.

"We are enormously excited to be one of only a handful of institutions selected for this tremendously important cancer project," said Dr. H. Shelton Earp, Director of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Cancer genetics has been a key area for University Cancer Research investment, allowing us to diversify the technologic base needed for this project. This phase of The Cancer Genome Atlas will yield many new cancer discoveries that may change the face of clinical cancer care in the near future."

UNC's specific focus is to characterize what genes are being expressed, and not expressed, in each tumor type studied. Using a methodology called "gene expression profiling", scientists get a very powerful look at a given tumor and can precisely determine what genes are "on" and what genes are "off". Cancers are typically caused by some genes being inappropriately on, and other genes being inappropriately off, thus being able to look at all genes at once and determine which are on is critical to a better understanding of tumor biology.

Project co-director Neil Hayes, notes that the laboratory science is specifically designed to benefit patients as quickly as possible. "Our participation is recognition that UNC has a community of cutting-edge researchers, particularly in our 'bench to bedside' approach and as one of only a few NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers included in the funding. Just as we balance our days between patient care and science, the leadership at NCI and NHGRI is asking us to keep this project grounded in benefits to patients. I can't imagine a more important leadership role, and we take this charge very seriously," he said.


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Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
edegraff@med.unc.edu
919-962-3405
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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