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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington join in national effort to study health impact of toxic substances

SEATTLE - The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in collaboration with the University of Washington, has been selected to participate in a federally funded, $37 million research consortium to study how individual genetic makeup affects one's response to various environmental agents, from asbestos to tobacco smoke. Such research will help answer puzzling questions such as why some people who have never smoked a cigarette develop lung cancer, while others who have smoked heavily for years never show signs of the disease. The Hutchinson Center/UW Toxicogenomics Consortium, part of a research collective involving a handful of academic institutions nationwide, will receive more than $7 million in funding over five years from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, or NIEHS, headquartered in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Each member of the NIEHS Toxicogenomics Research Consortium brings its own area of expertise, but collectively the group will use the tools of genomics to obtain a fundamental understanding, on a genome-wide scale, of the mechanisms of environmentally induced disease processes. Researchers will attempt to better understand how disease occurs; how to identify potential environmental hazards; how to predict potential disease; how to identify exposed individuals; and how to prevent disease.

The long-range goal of the Hutchinson Center/UW partnership is to shed light on genetic differences that make some people more sensitive than others to various environmental exposures. The Seattle-based consortium will exploit the combined strengths of the Hutchinson Center and University of Washington in DNA-microarray technology - the use of so called "gene chips" to monitor the expression of thousands of genes at once - and the UW's long-standing expertise in toxicology and environmental-health sciences. The principal investigator of the Seattle consortium, an expert in both environmental sciences and DNA-array technology, is Helmu
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Contact: Kristen Woodward
kwoodwar@fhcrc.org
206-667-5095
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
6-Nov-2001


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