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RPCI Researcher Developing miRNA Test for Lung Cancer with $100K Award

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A Roswell Park Cancer Institute researcher will use a $100,000 award to develop a blood-based test for diagnosing lung cancer.

Sai Yendamuri will use the OneBreath Clinical Research Award in Lung Cancer from the Chest Foundation to first identify microRNA biomarkers in blood and then develop an assay based on them. Preliminary work by Yendamuri, an attending surgeon at the institute's department of thoracic surgery, has suggested miRNA profiling in whole blood can differentiate people with lung cancer from those without.

With the Chest Foundation award, he hopes to further his work by ferreting out which miRNA biomarkers may be best used to predict lung cancer disease state.

"At that point we will create a whole blood microRNA assay for lung cancer," Yendamuri said in a statement from Roswell Park. "We will then validate our findings by checking for these biomarkers in blood samples of lung cancer patients both before and after resection surgery, to understand whether these signatures represent cancer presence versus cancer susceptibility."

Currently, biopsies are the most definitive method for lung cancer detection, but they are highly invasive and complicated. CT scans may also be used but, according to Yendamuri, only 10 percent of nodules identified by CT scans turn out to be lung cancer.

The institute added that a test resulting from Yendamuri's research has the potential to help in the early diagnosis of lung cancer and to improve treatment of patients.

The Chest Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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