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Rush Wins $750K DoD Grant for Gut Microbe Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Chicago's Rush University Medical Center has received a $750,000 grant from the US Department of Defense to study the microbes in the human gut to find out if they may play a role in breast cancer and other diseases, Rush said today.

The hospital said that microbes of the gut have been overlooked as a potential cause of breast cancer, particularly when compared with gene variants and environmental factors.

The research will focus on genomics studies of the human gastrointestinal microbiota and how it may be involved in carcinogens and sex hormone metabolism, based on research that has shown that these microbes may affect estrogen balance and metabolism. Data from the study could offer information about other diseases related to hormones, such as ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and endometriosis.

The researchers will use multitag pyrosequencing to barcode and identify 50,000 to 60,000 microbes per sample, Rush said.

Rush is recruiting women who are at least 30 years old and are newly diagnosed with breast cancer so that it may collect biopsies of the colon and stool samples before the patients receive any cancer therapy.