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Van Andel, Sidney Kimmel Receive $7.5M for Epigenetics Studies into Cancer

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A research team headed by scientists at the Van Andel Research Institute and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University will receive $7.5 million in funding for a three-year period from VARI to continue epigenetics research into cancer, the institute and Stand Up To Cancer said today.

The funding will be used by the researchers to further its work investigating epigenetic mechanisms in cells. So far, the scientists have conducted clinical trials exploring the response of lung cancer patients to epigenetic therapy alone and as a method of sensitizing patients to subsequent chemotherapy. With the new funding, more extensive clinical trials will be directed at other cancer types, and additional epigenetic testing therapies will be tested, VARI and SUTC said.

VARI Research Director and CSO Peter Jones and Sidney Kimmel Deputy Director Stephen Baylin are the leaders of the project and are joined by researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Temple University and the Fox Chase Cancer Center, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Keck Medicine of USC.

The VARI-Sidney Kimmel research team was formed in 2009 as one of SUTC's Inaugural Dream Team to perform epigenetics research into cancer treatment and has received almost $11 million in total funding from SUTC.

"Epigenetics provides untold opportunities to expand our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying cancer and to develop new treatments that positively affect people's lives," VARI's Jones said in a statement. Partnering with SUTC, its scientific partner the American Association for Cancer Research, and other research institutions, enables him and his colleagues to carry out "exceptional research that will have a significant impact on human health," he added.

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