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Hutchinson Center Using $8M Grant for Esophageal Cancer Genomics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center has received a $7.9 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to lead a genomics study aimed at finding risk genes for Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma, a fatal cancer that has increased in incidences 500 percent in the past 30 years.

The Hutch's Thomas Vaughan, who heads the Epidemiology Program, will work with David Whiteman, a researcher at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, to conduct a large-scale, genome-wide association study using pooled data from 18 studies of over 7,000 individuals who make up the Barrett's and Esophogeal Adenocarcinoma Consortium.

The Hutchinson Center's Genomics Resource will conduct the genotyping for the study, and Bruce Weir, Hutch professor and chairman of the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, will run the statistical analysis for the project.

The researchers will work together to determine how genetic and environmental factors interplay with personal risk factors, such as obesity, smoking, and heartburn.

"The results will aid us in identifying the biological pathways that contribute to this cancer," Vaughan said in a statement. "The information also will help direct our screening, prevention and surveillance efforts to those at highest risk."

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