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GE Grant Funds Moffitt Breast Cancer Metastasis Marker Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. will use a $100,000 grant from General Electric's Healthymagination Challenge to search for genetic variants that could be involved in the metastasis of breast cancer, Moffitt said on Friday.

Moffitt researcher Catherine Lee plans to use the funding to pursue research that ultimately will lead to development of a biomarker-based diagnostic test that could determine a patient's breast cancer metastasis risk.

The GE Healthymagination grant initiative is focused on supporting new ideas that can speed up innovations in breast cancer diagnosis, patient stratification, and personalized treatments.

"We suspect that an individual's genetic makeup can predispose them to develop or resist breast cancer spread," Lee said in a statement.

"We hope to identify biologic markers of metastasis to help classify those facing a higher metastasis risk," she added. "We also aim to improve therapeutic decision-making and ability to better predict outcomes after a breast cancer diagnosis."

Lee said that the ultimate goal is to develop a cheek swab test for patients diagnosed with breast cancer to help guide treatment decisions based on their inherited predisposition to develop advanced disease.

The researcher team at Moffitt will study tissues from 150 women volunteers who were treated at Moffitt's Comprehensive Breast Program and who developed metastatic disease within five years of follow-up. That group will be compared to a control group of women who did not develop metastatic disease over the same time after follow-up.