Every day, more than 1,500 Americans die of cancer – approximately one person every minute. Some of the most promising advances in cancer research involve finding the genetic markers that reside at the root of many forms of cancer. The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a partner in a number of cancer projects including the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pilot project, a National Institutes of Health sponsored initiative to further understand cancer causes that will create an “atlas” of genomic changes that lead to cancer.
All cancers involve genetic changes, most of which are not inherited but acquired, often by environmental exposures. Genetic changes influence how fast the cancer grows, how likely it is to spread, and what medications are most effective.
Recent breakthroughs in cancer research at HudsonAlpha include:
- Using genomic analysis to differentiate which women with breast cancer will or will not respond to specific drug regimens.
- Investigating molecular differences in cancerous tissues and healthy tissues for the purpose of identifying biomarkers to aid with earlier detection of some of the deadliest and hardest-to-treat cancers: pancreatic, kidney and prostate cancer.
- Identifying a special population of intestinal stem cells that respond to damage and help prevent intestinal and colon cancer.
- Discovering new gene targets so that new diagnostics and therapeutics can be found for cancer patients with Burkitt lymphoma, a type of cancer most often affecting children.