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NCI Seeks Molecular Signature Partnerships

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Cancer Institute intends to support research partnerships focused on molecular signatures from cancer tumors that can be used in developing new clinical tools for disease treatment.

The "Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures" program aims to generate data sets and publications that the scientific community may use to develop, design, and conduct future clinical trials that use multi-analyte signatures in cancer treatments.

These signatures could be based on gene or microRNA expression, or genomic alterations such as DNA amplifications, deletions, translocations, mutations, single nucleotide polymorphisms, epigenetic events, or protein expression.

NCI said in a request for applications that there is "growing recognition" among clinical cancer researchers that using data about molecular alterations at the levels of DNA, RNA, and protein may offer "a significant opportunity" for developing new clinical cancer treatments.

The goal of this program is to support strategic partnerships that will involve multi-disciplinary expertise and resources to discover how information from molecular analyses can be used to improve patient care and outcomes.

Researchers may use the partnerships that investigate questions on a range of areas, including but not limited to how molecular signatures can be used in: prediction of response to targeted therapies; prognosis for the patient at the time of the diagnosis; risk of progression in early-stage disease; identification of subsets within a tumor classification, stage, or grade where there is known heterogeneity in clinical behavior, including response to treatment with standard drugs or radiation therapy.

NCI has not set aside a certain amount of funding for the program, and the support it may provide will depend on research proposals and on available resources.

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