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Center for Molecular Medicine Selected to Provide DNA Analysis for Children's Oncology Group Leukemia Study
Date:1/8/2008

ectrum Health Grand Rapids and Chairman of the CMM Board of Directors. "This project, along with the increasing volume of clinical testing and cutting-edge genomics and proteomics work underway at the CMM, demonstrates the critical role molecular diagnostics and biotechnology will play in our region. It also speaks to the caliber of the CMM team, under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Daniel Farkas, to have come so far in less than a full year of operation."

CMM testing of COG project samples will begin in January 2008; Phase I may be completed as early as spring. COG and CMM are working together to identify sources of funding to expand the study to six to eight thousand more specimens.

CMM Executive Director, Daniel H. Farkas, Ph.D., said the sample testing and analysis would focus on tiny variations found within human genomes, including naturally, DNA from leukemic specimens. A genome is the complete DNA sequence present in every cell of an organism.

"The location of naturally occurring variations in human DNA, known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), serve as signposts or markers in the genome. Associating these SNP markers with diseases in different individuals provides opportunity for highly specific diagnostic tests, and, even more exciting, provides insights into what genes may be involved in the disease process. This insight can lead to highly targeted and specific therapies," he said. "In the COG study, the CMM will identify and catalog about a million key SNPs in these DNAs from childhood leukemia patients so that the COG can move forward in its important work uncovering new approaches to identifying and combating this disease."

According to the COG, progress in the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common malignancy of children, is one of the leading success stories in all of cancer research and cancer care. The survival rate has risen from about 15% to 85% over the past four decades. '/>"/>

SOURCE Center for Molecular Medicine
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