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Case Western Reserve Awarded $6M NCI Grant to Study Barrett's Esophagus

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center said today that they've been awarded a $6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to continue research on Barrett's Esophagus, a condition that significantly increases a patient's risk for esophageal cancer.

The five-year award — an extension of a 2011 grant that provided $5.4 million to investigate genetic biomarkers related to the condition — will provide funding for Case Western researchers to investigate genetic determinants of Barrett's Esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

The research will support the continued development of a new molecular marker-based method for detection of Barrett's Esophagus that was invented at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, the university said. The new research will span six additional institutions including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, Mayo Clinic, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

"The team has been working together for several years," Amitabh Chak, principal investigator on the award and director of clinical research in the division of gastroenterology and liver disease at UH Cleveland Medical Center, said in a statement. "During the previous award period, the team developed new methods for easy detection of Barrett's Esophagus and identified novel molecular mechanisms that cause cancer. The team will now screen people with this new method to detect Barrett's Esophagus and prevent the development of cancer. They will also develop new approaches for treating esophageal cancer."

In June 2016, Case Western researchers won an $850,000 four-year NCI grant to develop a methylation-based biomarker test for Barrett's Esophagus as part of a request for applications specifically to fund validation of high-quality markers that could result in NCI-supported clinical trials.

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