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Consortium to create comprehensive tools for uncovering the functions of human, mouse genes

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Thursday, March 15, 2005--Eleven leading biomedical organizations announced today the formation of a unique $18M, three-year public-private consortium to create a comprehensive library of gene inhibitors to be made available to the entire scientific community. Based on the method of RNA interference (RNAi), this library will give scientists worldwide the tools to knock down expression of virtually all human and mouse genes, accelerating the growth of basic knowledge of gene function in normal physiology and disease.

Called The RNAi Consortium (TRC), the collaborative effort is based at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and includes six MIT- and Harvard-associated research institutions and five international life sciences organizations.

The goal of TRC is to use the recently discovered RNAi mechanism to create widely applicable research reagents composed of short RNA hairpin sequences carried in lentiviral vectors. These can be used in a wide range of cellular and animal studies to discover the key genes underlying normal physiology and diseases including cancer, diabetes and immunological responses. TRC will not only create and validate these reagents, but will make them available to scientists worldwide through commercial and academic distributors.

TRC is based on a scientific collaboration among principal investigators at six Boston-area research institutions: Nir Hacohen (Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School); William Hahn (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School); Eric Lander (Broad Institute); David Root (Broad Institute); David Sabatini (Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research [WIBR], Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sheila Stewart (Washington University, formerly at WIBR), and Brent Stockwell (Columbia University, formerly at WIBR).

TRC also involves five member organizations: Pharmaceutical companies Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Company, and Novartis;
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Contact: Michelle Nhuch
news@broad.mit.edu
617-252-1064
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
16-Mar-2005


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