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Broad Institute, Dana-Farber Launch Patient-Driven Prostate Cancer Project

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Broad Institute and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute announced today that they have launched an internet-based initiative to encourage prostate cancer patients to share their medical data to help advance research into the disease.

Called the Metastatic Prostate Cancer (MPC) Project, the program allows prostate cancer patients to fill out a demographic and medical history survey on its website. Patients will then be sent a saliva-collection kit — and in some cases a blood biopsy kit, as well — to provide MPC researchers with samples for DNA sequencing. The patient and tumor DNA data will be integrated and de-identified, and then made available to researchers worldwide via a web portal.

"To answer many important questions about metastatic prostate cancer, we need to engage patients as partners," Eliezer Van Allen, a Broad associate member and Dana-Farber oncologist, said in a statement. "Together with patients, we want to create a research program that can fuel new discoveries, reveal why patients respond differently to treatments, and uncover new genetic targets so that we can help current and future generations of men."

The MPC is based on two similar efforts by Broad and Dana-Farber: the Angiosarcoma Project, which has almost 300 participants, and the Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Project, which includes more than 4,300 participants and released its first genomic and phenotypic data set late last year.

"We come into this project with a track record," Van Allen added. "We can point men with advanced prostate cancer to the exciting work that's being done with patients in these other programs to underscore the power of this partnership."