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Population Genetics Gets Funding under International Leukemia Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Population Genetics said today that it has received funding to support a European-backed international research consortium studying genetic risk among children for relapse of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL.

Funded with €6 million ($7.5 million) from the European Commission, the five-year effort, called the IntReALL consortium, will engage 23 research teams seeking to develop a standardized treatment for this malignant childhood disease, an effort that will involve gathering, banking, and studying DNA from Europe, Japan, Israel, and Australia.

Population Genetics Technologies will use its GenomePooling workflows to study the biobanked DNA samples and identify and validate associations between genetic risk factors and treatment efficacy. The partners hope to use this knowledge to identify which patients will benefit most from reduced-toxicity treatments and to develop a genetically stratified basis for conducting randomized trials of potential new treatments.

"This study presents a unique but highly complex opportunity to interrogate a large dataset of this malignant disease. Population Genetics has shown its expertise in the field of large population gene association studies which would probably otherwise be too costly and error-prone for clinical researchers seeking to test hypotheses," University of Manchester Professor of Pediatric Oncology and leader of the study Vaskar Saha said in a statement.

Population Genetics CEO Alan Schafer said the IntReALL study will enable the company to "demonstrate that our population-scale association study techniques can be applied to complex solid lymph node tumors, in addition to other areas of disease genetics in which we currently work."

The Cambridge, UK-based company did not disclose the amount of funding it has been awarded under the project.

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