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Schools in Big Ten Conference Form Cancer Research Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The universities that make up the Big Ten athletic conference in the US have shed their rivalries and banded together to harness their biomedical science resources in a new cancer research consortium.

The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium aims to leverage the infrastructures, expertise, and clinical facilities available in these universities' cancer centers in joint oncology trials, the University of Michigan Health System said today. The consortium plans to use molecular diagnostics to study how cancers work and how to treat them.

"Collaborating with other institutions gives us another opportunity for a broader and deeper brain trust while allowing implementation of novel ideas in a more representative patient population," Maha Hussain, associate director of clinical research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a statement.

The partners in the consortium include: Indiana University's Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center; Northwestern University's Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center; Penn State University's Hershey Cancer Institute; the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research; the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, which becomes part of Rutgers University on July 1 (Rutgers joins the Big Ten next year); the University of Illinois Cancer Center; the University of Iowa's Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center; the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center; the University of Minnesota's Masonic Cancer Center; the University of Nebraska's Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center; and the University of Wisconsin's Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Tremendous strengths exist in the cancer centers of the Big Ten," added Patrick Loehrer, director of the Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. "The advantage of this [consortium], particularly during a time of austerity for research, is that we can build upon the strengths of the institutions and fortify some of the shortcomings. This allows us to be lean, efficient, but most importantly, collaborative."

The Hoosier Oncology Group in Indianapolis will serve as the consortium's administrative headquarters.

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