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Rhode Island Hospital Gets $11M NIH Grant for Cancer Core

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Center for Research Resources has granted Rhode Island Hospital $11 million to renew the hospital's status as a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Center for Cancer Research and Development, the hospital said today.

The five-year grant will continue the COBRE CCRD programs at Rhode Island Hospital, which uses it to offer cancer researchers access and use of a proteomics core and a molecular pathology core. The proteomics core provides mass spectrometry and analysis tools and services, and the molecular pathology core provides a tissue bank for storing and cataloging human and animal tissues and a range of services.

The aim is to support researchers who seek biomarkers for use in developing early detection and diagnostic tools for cancer.

The hospital also this year received a $500,000 economic stimulus funding grant to purchase an imaging mass spectrometer for the proteomics core, Douglas Hixson, a Brown University professor who directs the hospital's Molecular Carcinogenesis Laboratory, said in a statement. The center purchased a Bruker Daltonics Ultraflex MALDI TOF/TOF with the funds.

"By allowing investigators to identify proteins differentially expressed in malignant and normal cells by directly scanning tissue sections, this exciting new technology will accelerate the identification of biomarkers by directly linking the fields of proteomics and molecular pathology," said Hixson. The new mass spectrometer is expected to "become a catalyst for collaborative interactions aimed at developing novel clinical and basic research applications," he added.

Since the hospital opened the CCRD facility in 2003 it has been involved in a range of cancer-related discoveries, Hixson said. "We've identified a new mode of transmitting signals regulating the growth and spread of cancer, a new gene that determines sensitivity to anti cancer drugs, another gene elevated by acid reflux that increases the risk of esophageal cancer and two novel tumor suppressor genes whose loss elevates the risk of stomach cancer."

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