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Major cancer study aims to identify protein markers for early-stage disease

A team led by Bay Area scientists is one of five nationwide to receive a major grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to refine and standardize the technologies for identifying biomarkers in the blood -- specific proteins, and the patterns they make -- for the early detection of cancer.

The grants, which signal the NCI's strategic shift toward studies aimed at early detection of cancer, are designed to lead to the discovery of many such biomarkers, the scientists say.

The grants have been issued under the NCI's Clinical Proteomic Technology Assessment for Cancer program, part of its five-year Clinical Proteomic Technologies Initiative for Cancer.

The team is directed by Susan Fisher, PhD, UCSF professor of cell and tissue biology, director of the UCSF Biomolecular Resource Center Mass Spectrometry Facility, a member of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center and a visiting scientist in Berkeley Lab's Life Sciences Division.

Co-principal investigators are Joe W. Gray, PhD, associate laboratory director for life and environmental sciences at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UCSF professor of laboratory medicine, and co-leader of the breast oncology program at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Bradford W. Gibson, PhD, a professor and director of chemistry at the Buck Institute for Age Research and UCSF adjunct professor of pharmaceutical chemistry.

The team also includes key co-investigators at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

The team will work to establish the best method for conducting mass spectrometry in the context of cancer biomarker discovery. Mass spectrometry is a technique used to detect and measure the precise molecular weight of proteins. A critical second step will involve consolidating the data and analyzing it, with the goal of piecing together the fragments of prot
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Contact: Jennifer O'Brien
jobrien@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
27-Sep-2006


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