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Research to create lung-cancer blood tests receives $3.4M in Pennsylvania tobacco settlement funds

(PHILADELPHIA Thursday, March 11, 2004) A team of researchers from The Wistar Institute, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and the University of Pennsylvania has been awarded $3.4 million to pursue development of blood tests for lung cancer. The need for such tests is great lung cancer kills more Americans by far than any other form of cancer, according to statistics compiled by the American Cancer Society.

As with most cancers, treatment for lung cancer is much more effective when the cancer is detected at an early stage. The Wistar-led research team will use a systems-biology approach primarily applying the recently developed tools of proteomics and genomics to find proteins and genes in the blood that indicate the presence of early lung cancer. They will then develop blood tests based on this information that could aid many people by detecting their cancers at an earlier stage than is currently possible.

"This funding allows us to bring together an expert team of basic scientists and clinicians to tackle a critical medical problem," said David W. Speicher, Ph.D., professor and co-leader of the molecular and cellular oncogenesis program at The Wistar Institute and principal investigator on the lung-cancer project. "Our aim is to develop powerful new diagnostic tools that should help save lives through earlier cancer detection."

The announcement of the grant was made today by Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Calvin Johnson on behalf of Governor Edward G. Rendell. The grant was one of five health research grants totaling $22.5 million funded from Pennsylvania's share of the national tobacco settlement.

These non-formula grants competitive grants based on research priorities and not dictated by a formula will develop Centers of Excellence to reduce disparities in lung disease and pregnancy outcomes. "Center of Excellence" is a special designation given to medical or educational institutions conducting concentrated, s
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Contact: Franklin Hoke
hoke@wistar.upenn.edu
215-898-3716
The Wistar Institute
12-Mar-2004


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