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Illumina, Expression Analysis to Fund Cancer GWAS and Data Analysis Grant Program

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By Justin Petrone

Expression Analysis this week said that it and Illumina will jointly fund a Cancer GWAS Genome-Wide Association Study and Data Analysis Grant program that will support "cutting-edge projects that show promise in identifying genetic elements important to cancer research and treatment."

Expression Analysis has offered the program for the past two years. This is the first year that Illumina is cosponsoring the program.

As part of the new program, Illumina will provide the microarrays and reagents, and Expression Analysis will perform services and data analysis consultation relating to the GWAS, in both cases at no cost to the recipient. Individual researchers, academic and nonprofit institutions, and corporations worldwide are eligible to participate, the companies said.

Expression Analysis President and CEO Steve McPhail said in a statement that the program will pair Illumina's Omni family of microarrays and Expression Analysis' "expertise in providing outstanding genotyping data."

David Bentley, chief scientist at Illumina, said the San Diego vendor hopes its support of the program will "spur additional critically needed GWAS studies in the area of cancer research." Bentley said in a statement that "research organizations are seeking to run high-throughput GWAS, but may not have sufficient funding or be in a position to carry out a comprehensive cancer study."

According to Expression Analysis, project proposals should "demonstrate strong evidence that the study design and analysis proposed is likely to have the power to detect genetic factors affecting the cancer under study" and show a "clear need for the GWAS."

Investigators are expected to provide properly prepared and aliquoted DNA and supporting documentation for all specimens to be typed, the company said. Investigators also must provide a maximum of 600 specimens. However, "depending on the nature of the medical need, smaller and even larger studies may be considered."

Applications for the grants are due by Jan. 15, 2011, Expression Analysis said. Selection of the awardees will be made by an outside review panel, and facilitated by the American Cancer Society Research Department.

Awardees will be notified by March 5, 2011, with an anticipated project start date of May 1, 2011. The project period will extend through the end of 2011, the company noted.

Additional information about the program is available on Expression Analysis' website.

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