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U of Michigan Cancer Group Lands $63M from NCI

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) based at the University of Michigan has received $63 million in funding from the National Cancer Institute to continue its clinical trials, personalized medicine, and comparative-effectiveness research programs.

SWOG said that over the course of the next six years its total funding package could surmount $120 million. The principal $63 million is the largest single research award to the University of Michigan Medical School, where SWOG is housed.

SWOG Executive Officer Carolyn Hoban told GenomeWeb Daily News on Tuesday that the research funded through the grant will involve the collection and storing of biosamples and then the development of biomarkers for use in personalizing cancer treatments in clinical trials.

SWOG is a clinical research cooperative group that designs and conducts large-scale clinical trials of new cancer treatments and prevention regimens. Its network includes nearly 5,000 affiliated researchers spread across more than 500 institutions.

"We're proud to be first among the 10 NCI cooperative groups to embrace – and to be funded for – comparative-effectiveness research as part of our mission," SWOG Group Chair Laurence Baker said in a statement.

The grants will be dispersed by SWOG, which is involved with many commercial partners in its drug-trial programs, Hoban said.

The funding will support a cooperative bank biorepository that includes a range of specific tumor samples for multiple myeloma and other cancers.

The samples also will be analyzed and studied using proteomic and other technologies as part of a biomarker development strategy. Hoban said that this aspect of SWOG's research aims to discover and validate biomarkers related to cancer, including those that can be used to predict chemotherapy response and disease progression, and which can be used to stratify patients.

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