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Wash U Awarded $6.5M Grant to Develop Sequencing-Based Breast Cancer Vaccine

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Researchers at Washington University have received a $6.5 million grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to develop a personalized, sequencing-based breast cancer vaccine.

William Gillanders, a professor of surgery, and Ted Hansen, a professor of pathology and immunology, will lead the initiative. According to the project abstract, the team will use next-gen sequencing to identify unique tumor antigens, and then incorporate several of those antigens into a vaccine.

"Identification and validation of mutations in individual breast cancers provides an unprecedented opportunity to target unique tumor antigens with personalized breast cancer vaccines," the researchers wrote in their project abstract.

Researchers at Wash U have already sequenced over 50 breast cancer tumor/normal pairs (CSN 4/5/2011).

According to the abstract for the new project, the researchers will use sequence data to generate T-cell lines that are specific for unique tumor antigens and then determine if they can recognize and kill breast cancer cells. They will then develop vaccines based on of those antigens, testing them first in animal models, and then in a phase 1 clinical trial.

The $6.5 million grant was among more than 80 research grants totaling $55 million that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation announced it would fund in 2011. The Wash U grant and another $6.5 million grant to a team at the University of California, San Francisco, were the largest awarded.

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