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OSU Lands $23M for Comprehensive Cancer Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Ohio State University has received a five-year, $23 million grant from the National Cancer Institute for the continued support of its Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC), which conducts genomic and molecular biology-focused studies, along with a range of other research efforts.

According to OSU, the renewal of the core grant represents a nearly 24 percent increase over the funding NCI provided for the center in 2005, and followed a "rigorous" review process that included a site visit from 28 scientists from other universities. During the review center was evaluated for its scientific impact, cancer care, and clinical trials enrollment as well as its service to the community.

"The money provided to us by the NCI is critical for our infrastructure and facilitation of groundbreaking research to prevent, detect, treat and cure cancer," explained Michael Caligiuri, OSUCCC's director and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

OSU said that the core grant is the center's major source of funding for supporting scientists and the administration, and for shared technology and services that are provided to more than 250 cancer researchers at Ohio State.

The OSUCCC will also keep its designation as an NCI “comprehensive” cancer center, which only 41 institutions nationwide currently hold, the school said.

Caliguri said that the funding "will help us recruit the best and brightest minds to Ohio State by leveraging our status as the only NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center with a freestanding cancer hospital attached to an academic medical center on the campus of one of the largest universities in the country."

The center has six core research programs, including the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics and the Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention research programs. The molecular biology program focuses on studies of gene expression, DNA replication and differentiation, and other projects focused on understanding the molecular basis of cancer screening, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

The primary goal of the center is to increase understanding of the associations between genes and cancer by identifying human genes that lead to an increased predisposition to cancer, determining the molecular mechanisms underlying gene expression and function, and promoting clinical applications of gene identification and gene function for use in diagnosis, prognosis, and surveillance.

Scientists at the molecular carcinogenesis and chemoprevention center work to understand the causes of cancer by characterizing molecular and cellular changes, developing and characterizing novel agents for cancer chemoprevention, identifying efficacy and safety mechanisms, and implementing translational studies focused on people who are at high risk for exposure to carcinogenic or cancer promoting agents.