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ASU, Sun-Yat-sen University Ink Colorectal Cancer Biomarker Pact

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scientists at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute and Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) in Guangzhou, China will collaborate to discover, develop, and validate molecular biomarkers for predicting and detecting colorectal cancer at an early stage and for improving treatments, ASU said today.

The collaboration will involve ASU's Center for Sustainable Health and SYSU's gastro-intestinal disease-focused Sixth Affiliated Hospital. It also forms the second hub in ASU's Global Biosignatures Network (GBN). ASU had formed a Biosignatures Center through an agreement with Taiwan's Chang Gung University earlier this year.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the US and the third most commonly diagnosed in the world, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current screening for CRC uses fecal blood testing and endoscopic methods, which ASU said are ineffective and expensive, and there is no predictive diagnostic tool for simple tests to identify this cancer before symptoms appear.

"Developing [molecular diagnostic technologies] to the stage where they are useful in the clinic requires a systematic, dedicated, and long-term collaboration between the most advanced clinical research sites and state-of-the-art technology centers," said Leland Hartwell, chief scientist at the Biodesign Institute's Center for Sustainable Health.

"By establishing Biosignatures Centers, we hope to build a global network that will provide the scale necessary to overcome scientific limitations while creating a global platform to share methods, results, and experiences," added Michael Birt, the Center for Sustainable Health's director.

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