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Cedars-Sinai Lands Avon Funds for Breast Cancer MicroRNA Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – An investigator at the Cedars-Sinai Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute has landed a $300,000 in funding from the Avon Foundation for Women to study blood-based biomarkers that could be used to treat and stratify breast cancer patients.

Associate Professor Dolores Di Vizio plans to use the funding to study miRNAs found in oncosomes, large bioactive lipid-enclosed vesicles that originate in tumor cells and circulate in plasma, with a focus on how they might be used to indicate tumor progression.

"With this study, we hope to identify previously unrecognized large oncosomes as potential biomarkers in advanced tumors that can be visualized, quantified, and isolated using methods easily translatable to the clinic," Di Vizio, who will collaborate with the Cedars-Sinai Women's Cancer Program, said in a statement.

Di Vizio and her team have previously identified large oncosomes in breast, prostate, bladder, and lung cancer cells and in tissues circulating in mice with prostate cancer.

Now, they plan to try to find out if oncosome-derived miRNAs induce metastatic behavior in recipient cells, and if they can identify miRNA signatures in oncosome-rich tumor samples that could be used in a blood test to stratify patients.

Under this grant, Di Vizio and her team specifically plan to study the role of these miRNAs in breast cancer progression, identify the miRNA signatures in oncosome-rich breast cancer samples and then correlate them with pathological and clinical data, and then identify disease-relevant miRNAs in circulating oncosomes in breast cancer patients.