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WUSTL, ICR to Use $4M Komen Grant to Develop Breast Cancer Dx, Screen Treatments

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis and the Institute of Cancer Research in London plan to use a $4 million grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation to identify which breast cancer patients are most likely to experience recurrence and to identify new drug treatments aimed at those women.

The researchers at Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, The Genome Institute at the Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and at ICR will use genomic information to identify which women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer are at highest risk for disease recurrence and to determine which treatments are most effective for treating them, WUSTL said on Friday.

The partners will use DNA sequencing to compare patients' normal cells and cancerous cells and plan to develop a test to accurately predict which patients are most likely to have a recurrence after five years.

They also will try to find out why anti-hormonal drugs are only partially effective in reducing tumor growth, and determine which combination of drugs now in development will kill all ER-positive cancer cells and prevent disease recurrence.

"There are so many new drugs out there for breast cancer patients that we need a way to establish which ones are most likely to be the home run," Matthew Ellis, a professor of medicine and chief of the breast oncology section at Washington University School of Medicine, said in a statement. "Our goal is to screen drugs to find the one that will produce the best outcome for the patient with the least toxicity."

Ellis is a co-recipient of the grant with Elaine Mardis, who is co-director of The Genome Institute, and Pascal Meier of ICR.