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NCI Earmarks $5.5M for Early Cancer Biomarker Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Cancer Institute has earmarked $5.5 million in fiscal year 2016 to fund the establishment of laboratories to advance research on biomarkers and biomarker assays for cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and genitourinary organs, as well as cancers with rapidly rising incidence rates.

The Biomarker Developmental Laboratories (BDLs), as they’ve been designated, will become a part of the NCI's Early Detection Research Network — a national initiative tasked with discovering, developing, and validating biomarkers for risk assessment, detection, and molecular diagnosis and prognosis of early cancer. 

In this funding opportunity, the NCI aims to fund between eight and 10 BDLs that will develop and characterize new biomarkers and assays, or refine existing ones.

The agency is encouraging the use of integromic approaches, systems biology approaches, and/or signaling pathway analyses to identify biomarkers that can predict onset of a certain cancer and delineate the specific biochemical, cellular, and physiological characteristics associated with a particular neoplasia. Also of interest are studies that use information from The Cancer Genome Atlas or high-throughput sequencing technologies to understand the mechanisms that promote aggressiveness in some pre-neoplastic lesions, and to predict tumor behavior at the tissue, cellular, or molecular level.

Examples of research areas appropriate for this funding opportunity include, but are not limited to, the discovery and development of promising omic biomarkers; the development of new serum- and tissue-related biomarkers for cancer detection and diagnosis; and the integration of genetic, cell signaling, and biochemical pathways into novel network- and pathway-based biomarkers with a broader applicability across different tumor types.

Additional details about the funding opportunity can be found here.