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Ontario Researchers Get Grant for BRCA1-based Dx Test

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scientists at Queen's University in Ontario have received a C$450,000 ($431,000) grant from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to conduct research that could lead to a low-cost diagnostic test for identifying patients at risk for breast cancer.

The funding from the foundation will be used to continue an ongoing collaboration between Queen's University researchers Scott Davey and Harriet Feilotter, both of whom are members of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and the Cancer Research Institute. Their research focuses on identifying mutations in the BRCA1 gene.

"In the first phase of the study, we were able to detect changes in gene expression patterns that distinguish people with BRCA1 function from those with no apparent mutation," Davey said in a statement. "The second round of funding will allow us to validate and extend this work, hopefully leading to both a better understanding of BRCA1 function, and an improved method for identifying individuals that carry the gene mutations."

The researchers will use fresh blood cells from patients to pinpoint the specific functioning of the BRCA1 suppressor gene to understand exactly how it inhibits cancer.

"In the long term, we hope to identify people who are at risk of developing breast cancer – before they get cancer – so they have the best possible surveillance and treatment options," Davey said.

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