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Jackson Lab Wins DoD Grant to Develop Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Classification Method

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Jackson Laboratory announced last week that it has won a $1.4 million grant from the US Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a new method for classifying triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) tumors, which could lead to the development of better diagnostics and precision treatments.

The grant will specifically be used to advance work of Jackson Lab President and CEO Edison Liu, who published a study with collaborators last year on the discovery of a genomic configuration — dubbed the tandem duplicator phenotype (TDP) — that is enriched only in certain malignancies such as TNBC, ovarian cancer, and liver cancer. The researchers also showed that tumors with the TDP are highly sensitive to the chemotherapeutic cisplatin.

Since then, Liu's group has generated "strong preliminary data identifying subtypes of genetically different TDP TNBCs," he said in a statement. "And for each subtype, we have found genes that likely drive these genetic differences and for which specific therapies are already FDA-approved or in development."

With the DoD funding, Liu now aims to use advanced computational methods to develop a better way to classify TNBC tumors, a better understanding of the formation of TDP subtypes, and novel treatment regimens tailored to specific TDPs that will be ready for testing in a clinical setting, according to the Jackson Lab.

"Our research shows that while TDP TNBC is highly complex, we have the tools to unpack this complexity in a way that creates unprecedented opportunities for better classifying, treating, and curing TNBC cancers," Liu added.

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