There's been a lot of news coming out of Chicago this week from the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Two announcements concerning prostate cancer research are especially worth broadcasting. An Ann Arbor pathologist, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, will be leading a "dream team" of specialists from 5 of the top cancer research institutes in the world in a $10M, 3-year research project titled “Precision Therapy for Advanced Prostate Cancer.” The funding comes from AACR partner, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), and the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). Heading up the team with Dr. Chinnaiyan is Dr. Charles L. Sawyers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
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Last year in a blog of ours on the future of genome sequencing we referenced a July appeals court ruling that protected Utah's Myriad Genetics' patent on two genes known to be indicators of breast cancer risk. Now, in a recent Supreme Court ruling on that same case, the previous ruling has been overturned and the case returned to the lower court for rehearing. This decision follows another important high court ruling on the patentability of genes: Mayo vs. Prometheus Labs (San Diego), which also just ruled against a company's right to hold patents on human genes, and which was quoted as a precedent in the latest Myriad judgement.
As early as February of 2012, project organizers plan on opening the New York Genome Center, a new center for genomics and medicine, in Manhattan. NYGC’s collaborating members include a number of public and private contributors, among them 11 academic institutions, private philanthropists, technology collaborators, the New York City Economic Corporation and the New York City Investment Fund. In total, contributing members have donated $120 million to the project so far.