New partnership to make advancements in personalized breast cancer treatment and care

Published on November 3, 2012 at 2:25 AM · No Comments

The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation and The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) today announced the formation of a dynamic partnership that will lay the groundwork for lifesaving advancements in personalized breast cancer treatment and care.

Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research will leverage TSRI's expertise in genomic sequencing as it embarks on a defining study to compare the genes of a woman's healthy cells with her breast tumor cells in an effort to more precisely understand the changes that cause breast cancer to develop and progress.

"Edith Sanford is thrilled to partner with Scripps Research, an institution that is on the cutting-edge of genomics, and harness their expertise and technological capabilities in our work to accelerate these discoveries from the bench to bedside," said Brian Leyland Jones, MB BS, PhD, director of Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research. "This partnership will facilitate the translation of large-scale sequencing data into meaningful information that will help us understand how to more precisely and accurately treat breast cancer patients based on their DNA profiles."

Specifically, Edith Sanford will provide tissue samples from 25 women with breast cancer to TSRI for analysis to identify the changes in genes and proteins that are linked to the cancer, and Edith Sanford will then validate findings through clinical testing. The principal objective of this study is to establish research protocols that will guide Edith Sanford in launching ambitious larger-scale projects that will help pioneer the integration of genomics into breast cancer research and patient care.

"We are committed to helping accelerate the work of Edith Sanford to bring to patients the lifesaving potential of forward genomic research," said Brandon Young, director of the Genomics and Cell-Based Screening Core Lab at Scripps Florida. "We are excited to work with Edith Sanford as it establishes a genomics program that will transform the way we think about and treat breast cancer."

Young and colleagues, Nicholas Schork, PhD, Ali Torkamani, PhD, and Andrew Su, PhD, at Scripps California, and the Genomics Core at Scripps Florida will be working jointly with the research team at Edith Sanford.

In order to mine and accurately interpret vast sets of patient data produced in this field of research, Edith Sanford will also maximize the tools of computer science and statistics. It recently began building the infrastructure of a leading bioinformatics program through the hire of Scooter Willis, PhD, as its director of computational bioinformatics. Dr. Willis is a specialist in computer science and engineering and brings an expertise in genomic analysis. He will also work closely with TSRI and play a vital role in facilitating the partnership.

The prestigious partnership with TSRI, which Leland-Jones confirms is the first of many high-caliber collaborations, and the ongoing recruitment of leading scientific experts, are pivotal steps for Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research as it positions itself as a national hub for breast cancer genomic research.

Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research is supported by the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating breast cancer through genomic and translational research. Thanks to a transformational gift that launched the Foundation in 2011 and will catalyze its future growth, Edith Sanford is able to commit 100 percent of every contribution to its research program.

"To change the course of breast cancer, our research team is pursuing collaborations to bring together the brightest minds from different scientific fields to quickly move the field of breast cancer research, treatment and care," said Kimberly Simpson Earle, president of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation.

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