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Canary Foundation and American Cancer Society Award Five Postdoctoral Fellowships in Early Cancer Detection

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Canary Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds research in early cancer detection, and the American Cancer Society announced the five recipients of its Canary Foundation and American Cancer Society Early Detection Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for 2008. Revealed during Canary Foundation's Early Detection Symposium in May, the program selected five awardees this year, the largest number of fellows sponsored since the program's inception in 2004. Each fellow is awarded $138,000 over three years to support research in the area of early cancer detection.

The fellowship program continues to be very successful. In addition to the five awardees, Canary Foundation and the American Cancer Society are currently supporting nine postdoctoral fellows at a number of institutions across the United States. These fellows have reported a number of collaborations leading to new and accelerated research progress and an impressive number of academic publications.
The 2008 recipients are:

-- David J. Gorin -- Harvard University

Dr. Gorin's research aims develop a new assay for the comparative

analysis of protease activities in diseased and healthy tissue samples

by simultaneously investigating the activity of proteases on thousand

of substrate peptides. Initial efforts will be devoted to samples from

patients with lung, ovarian, breast, and prostate cancers due to the

difficulties and importance associated with early diagnosis of these


-- Christopher A. Maher -- University of Michigan Medical Center

Dr. Maher's project strives to discover novel noncoding RNA genes

(ncRNAs), including microRNAs (miRNAs) that could serve as biomarkers

for prostate cancer. Studies have demonstrated that miRNAs are involved

in the development of many types of cancers. The study also aims to

detect miRNA signatures associated with early and late stages of

prostate cancer, and identify the mechanisms driving ncRNA expression.

This project will have a broad significance by establishing an

integrative approach for ncRNA discovery which can be applied to a

variety of cancers. Comparison of the results may illustrate patterns

of protease activity in specific types of cancer or individual protease

substrates as biomarkers, which would provide a basis for further

clinical development.

-- Michael Pluth -- Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Pluth's study hopes to design and develop reversible fluorescent

sensors for nitric oxide (NO) by using iron for use in live cells for

the detection and quantification of intracellular levels of NO. NO has

shown to play an active role in biological signaling and current

sensors prohibit real-time quantification of nitric oxide

concentrations. This study will further the understanding of the

unique dichotomous role of nitric oxide in carcinogenesis and tumor

growth prevention, and will ideally contribute to the long-term goal of

developing new, non-invasive strategies for the early detection of


-- Joe Shuga -- University of California, Berkeley

Using microfluidic technologies developed by the U.C. Berkeley's

Mathies lab, Dr. Shuga seeks to conduct single cell genetic analysis of

several genes parallel in individual human cells. By sequencing genes

from single cells, it will be possible to detect key mutations in rare

cells such as normal or cancer stem cells. The ability to sequence

genes linked to cancer in single cells will aid in early detection of

biomarkers, monitoring of minimal residual disease, and understanding

cancer etiology.

-- Robert W. Sprung -- Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center

Dr. Sprung aims to develop and standardize a method for the proteomic

analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) colon adenoma

tissue, which is already generated during routine diagnostic procedures

in pathology laboratories across the country, and apply the method to

the discovery of biomarkers for adenoma recurrence, a known risk factor

for colorectal cancer development. Colorectal cancer is the second

leading cause of cancer-related deaths affecting both men and women in

the U.S.

"These fellows represent some of our best and brightest researchers in early cancer detection today," said Canary Foundation CEO and founder Don Listwin. "With the American Cancer Society, we are committed to cultivating future leaders in this field and ensuring that institutions conducting early detection research will have the talent they need through this fellowship program."

About Canary Foundation

Canary Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the goal of identifying cancer early through a simple blood test and then isolating it with imaging. Since 2004, Canary has raised over $27.9 million and committed $15.4 million to early detection research. Its collaborative research programs span multiple disciplines and institutions. 100% of donations go to early detection research activities. For more information, please visit

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service. The Society is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and has 17 regional, separately chartered Divisions with more than 3,400 local units around the country. It is the largest source of private, nonprofit cancer research funding in the United States.

SOURCE Canary Foundation
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