Science Market Update

USC Receives $12M to Study Genetic Variants in Breast Cancer

Posted by Laura Braden on Thu, Aug 11, 2016

Breast_Cancer.jpgAccording to the American Cancer Society, nearly 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lives, making it the second most common cancer for American women. However, breast cancer does not affect all women equally. Past studies have shown that women of African descent with breast cancer die at a higher rate than white women. Researchers at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine have received a grant of $12 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study the disparities in breast cancer in women.

With this new grant, the USC research team will see if genetic variants contribute to the aggression of breast cancer tumors in African-American women. The researchers will collaborate with teams from Vanderbilt University and Boston University to gain a better understanding of the biology of breast cancer to ideally discover new ways to both treat and prevent it. (Image courtesy of the Department of Pathology, Calicut Medical College - Government Medical College, Kozhikode via Wikimedia Commons)

Dr. Christopher Haiman from the Keck School of Medicine and leader of this study explained that: “We now have the knowledge and technology available to assess the whole genome, providing a more comprehensive look into the genetics of breast cancer in women of African ancestry. I am confident that this will be a fruitful and productive collaboration.”

Previous research has been conducted on breast cancer in African-descended women, and the current researchers will study data and biospecimens collected in these previous studies to see if there are genetic variants that contribute to the risk of getting breast cancer. The researchers will use this data to look for a connection between the risk of getting estrogen receptor-negative and receptor-positive breast cancer and genetic variants from women in the studies. They will also focus on how the biological pathways of breast cancer are affected by these variants in different women.

In addition to the data and biospecimens from past studies, information will be gathered from 20,000 more cases of breast cancer, greatly increasing the size of research being conducted at USC.

Director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Stephen Gruber, explained that: “Preventing and treating cancer is reaching a new frontier in precision oncology. Identifying susceptible genetic regions and risk factors can help us better assess risks in our patients and the larger population. I am thrilled at the potential clinical applications that will arise from focused attention on women of African ancestry.”

The University of Southern California in Los Angeles.(Image courtesy of Biotechnology Calendar, Inc.)

USC scientists tackle tough problems in all fields of the life sciences, and receive an immense amount of annual research funding to help with this work. In the 2015 fiscal year, USC received more than $192.6 million in life science funding from the NIH. Some of the current research projects at USC benefiting from this funding include:

  • The University of Southern California received two separate gifts totaling $60 million to fund the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience. The 190,000-square-foot facility at the Keck School of Medicine will house state-of-the-art flexible labs, and is currently slated to debut in 2017.
  • The University of Southern California is to receive part of a $35 million award to engage in high-risk research which focuses on how complex marine microbial systems interact and change over time.

With funding coming in to help construct new buildings and support ongoing research projects, USC is a strong marketplace for lab supply companies to find new scientific product sales leads. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. produces two BioResearch Product Faire™ Events at USC, one in Spring and one in Fall, that give USC researchers the chance to find new products and technologies that will help them in their labs. Lab suppliers have the chance to meet with these researchers face-to-face in an intimate and professional environment to help researchers find the products they need. 

Last year's two events attracted a total of more than 400 researchers. Nearly a quarter of these attendees were decision makers, and the rest were all involved in the research process. 

The next event at USC, the 15th Semiannual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event, will take place on October 19, 2016. Both researchers and lab supply companies are invited to attend this popular event. 

If you are with a lab or chemical supply company or are a researcher, visit the appropriate button below to learn more about participating in this popular event. 

Exhibit at USC  in 2019         Attend USC Event click here


Tags: CA, University of Southern California, breast cancer research, California, USC, BioResearch Product Faire Event, NIH grant, cancer research funding, 2016

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