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Yale Lands $12M for Brain Cancer Genomics Research

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Yale School of Medicine has received a $12 million donation that it will use to launch a new research project focused on studying the genomics of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and other brain tumors, the university said this week.

The new Yale Program in Brain Tumor Research will conduct genomic sequencing and analysis of tumors in an effort to understand the basic biology of brain cancer and GBM in particular, which accounts for 60 percent of all brain tumors diagnosed in the US each year.

Funded by a gift from Mehmet Kutman, who is CEO and chairman of Istanbul-based Global Investment Holdings, the program will begin its research using 400 brain tumors from Turkish hospitals to supplement Yale's current stock of tumor specimens. The Yale researchers plan to use these samples to conduct sequencing and analysis to discovery variants involved in GBM.

Although improvements in radiotherapy and surgical techniques and new drugs have increased survival times for GBM patients, on average, they survive only one year after diagnosis, Yale said.

"In spite of much research and the application of the latest in technology, the prognosis for survival of patients with GBM is unacceptably short," Robert Alpern, dean and ensign professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine, said in a statement. "Basic research leading to an understanding of the biology of these tumors is essential."

"As we work to contribute to a complete catalog of the mutations present in brain tumors, we will be able to understand individual tumors and come up with better therapies," added Yale School of Medicine Professor and project leader Murat Günel. "This gift brings unprecedented opportunities for us to extend our expertise in genomic sequencing to one of the deadliest diseases, and hopefully, to make a difference for patients."

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