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Vanderbilt Evaluating GE Platform for Insights into Colon Cancer

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Vanderbilt University is partnering with GE Global Research to evaluate GE's cancer mapping technology for cellular insight into colon tumors.

The partnership, announced today and supported by a five-year, $3.75 million grant from the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health, will test GE's automated platform that can probe and analyze up to 60 different disease biomarkers, including proteins and messenger RNAs, in a single tissue sample.

The award is part of the new NIH-funded Single Cell Analysis Program that seeks to better understand cells on an individual basis so that therapies can be developed based on disease mechanisms on a cellular level.

GE added that it has developed new technology that allows a single tissue section from a sample removed during surgery to be imaged for biosignatures, such as the expression of multiple proteins and nucleic acids, without sacrificing the sample's integrity.

By studying multiple markers simultaneously, a more complete picture of cancer may be obtained, GE said.

"With GE's cancer mapping technology we're enabling cancer to be viewed in ways it couldn't previously be seen, such as with the activation of different signaling pathways in specific cells," Michael Gerdes, lead scientist at GE Global Research, the technology development arm of GE, and one of the leaders of the GE-Vanderbilt project, said in a statement.

"With unprecedented views, we hope will come unprecedented insights that tell us more about how cancer forms, how it progresses, and most importantly, how to defeat it," Gerdes said, adding that a goal of the project will be to identify what drives the aggressiveness of colon cancer and what role cancer stem cells play in therapeutic resistance.

Other leaders on the project are GE's Kashan Shaikh and Robert Coffey, a professor of cancer research at Vanderbilt. GE's technology will be evaluated by researchers from the Epithelial Biology Center at Vanderbilt, which is directed by Coffey.

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