West Virginia has the fourth highest cancer-related mortality in the nation, and some cancers occur at a disproportionately higher rate among our residents. Researchers at CAMC, Marshall University and West Virginia University believe that these cancer disparities may be a result of genetic differences in tumors found in West Virginians compared to the rest of the country, and they are collaborating to develop a network intent on identifying these differences.
The research project recently received a $1.35 million Challenge Grant from the West Virginia Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, an initiative of the National Science Foundation. Part of the funding will be used for three focus areas: pilot projects on tumors to identify new targets for drugs that might be driving tumor growth; identification of patients that may be eligible for clinical trials of novel drugs based on the character of their tumor; and to potentially start-up new biotechnology companies and collaborate with existing ones to guide the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Dr. Todd Kuenstner, pathology, is one of the principal investigators for the Cancer Genomics Network study.