Cancer Genetics Research

Now in its 5th year, the clinical cancer genetics research program was awarded $87,000.00 to be paid in two installments. The goal of the program is to continue to expand the cancer family history database. Over 250 patients have submitted information on the incidence of cancer in their family (a pedigree) in an effort to learn about familial cancer risk through genetic counseling.

The program is housed at the Maine Center for Cancer Medicine (MCCM) in Scarborough and is open to patients statewide. Indeed, more than half of the patients currently involved in the program are from sites other than MCCM and represent residents in 12 Maine counties. Individuals may be referred through their local physician or self-referral. It is expected that the number of patients will grow as awareness of hereditary cancer risk is increased statewide. Once the data collection is large enough, biostatisticians will summarize the incidence of familial cancer as well as explore the development of a new risk algorithm. The program also seeks to genetically analyze tumor tissue to identify changes in gene expression that define particular tumor types and provide prognostic information, The technique is referred to as gene expression profiling and makes use of an important new research tool: DNA microarrays or 'gene chips.'

Principal Investigator, Karen Rasmussen, Ph. D. learned these techniques while a Visiting Investigator at the Jackson Lab last year. This technology allows for simultaneous analysis of thousands of genes in both tumor and normal tissues. The goal is to identify a small number of genes that can serve as diagnostic or prognostic markers, predict response to therapy or serve as targets for the rational design of new therapeutic agents. Tissue investigation is linked to database profiles whenever possible. Known genes that increase cancer risk include BRCAI and BRCA2 for breast cancer and HNPCC for colon cancer. Contact: Karen Rasmussen, Ph. D. 885-7675 

Organization: 
Maine Center for Cancer Medicine
Researcher: 
Karen Rasmussen, Ph. D
Grant Amount Given: 
$87,000
Year Issued: 
2001
Period: 
Annual
Grant Category: 
Research
Types of Cancer: 
All

Maine Cancer Foundation Grants to this Organization:

Year Program Amount Category Organization
2010 Evaluating MicroRNA's as Prognostic Determinants in Stage II Colon Cancer $78,000 Research Maine Center for Cancer Medicine
2008 Colorectal Cancer Screenings $6,839 Screening Maine Center for Cancer Medicine
2007 Toolkit for Colorectal Cancer $4,800 Education Maine Center for Cancer Medicine
2006 Cancer Risk and Prevention $1,862 Education Maine Center for Cancer Medicine
2006 Molecular Predictors of Iressa Response in Lung Cancer Patients $68,241 Research Maine Center for Cancer Medicine
2004 Molecular Markers of Prognosis and Response to Therapy in Breast Cancer $70,500 Research Maine Center for Cancer Medicine
2003 Molecular Indicators of Prognosis and Response to Therapy in Breast Cancer $60,700 Research Maine Center for Cancer Medicine
2001 Cancer Genetics Research $87,000 Research Maine Center for Cancer Medicine