2019 Spring Benefit to support cancer research


Approximately 38 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. Cancer is, at its heart, a genetic disease, a progression from normal cells to abnormal, precancerous, then cancer cells. For that reason, some of the most promising advances in cancer research involve genomics.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology researchers are exploring opportunities for earlier detection, new treatments, and new drug targets for those facing various cancer diagnoses including breast, ovarian, kidney, colon, pancreatic, prostate and more.

Taking a stand against ovarian and breast cancer

Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. Nearly one in eight women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. With staggering statistics like these, it is more important than ever to understand, detect, prevent and treat breast and ovarian cancer.

By analyzing and comparing the genomes of normal and cancerous cells, HudsonAlpha uncovers novel insights into the underpinnings of breast and ovarian cancer. Researchers at the Institute use a team science approach to work with scientists and physicians around the globe. Working collaboratively, HudsonAlpha scientists use advanced technology to explore the human genome to discover the origins and progression of cancer.

HudsonAlpha researchers are also studying the immune response to tumor cells, using a technology from iRepertoire, a company based on the campus. Scientists hope to better understand the relationship between the immune system and tumor cell development, identifying pathways to reverse or slow tumor formation.

HudsonAlpha scientists find colon polyp markers

Colonoscopy is the most commonly performed endoscopic procedure in the United States and is the preferred method to screen for colon cancer, but it certainly is not a comfortable procedure. More than 60 percent of Americans aged 50 and older have not utilized current screening methods for colon cancer.

Recently, HudsonAlpha researchers announced the discovery of a measurable indicator in blood plasma that could identify patients who have colon polyps. The finding is an important first step in developing a blood test to screen for colon polyps that could become cancerous or even for colon cancer. An accurate, non-invasive test could one day help physicians identify individuals who should receive a follow-up colonoscopy.

Spring Benefit to support HudsonAlpha’s cancer research

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Spring Benefit at HudsonAlpha. Ten years ago, Dr. Rick Myers shared how the newly-opened HudsonAlpha would inform our understanding of cancer. At this year’s Spring Benefit, Dr. Myers will reflect on how research has advanced and ways genetics and genomics are used today to diagnosis, treat and prevent cancer. For more information on the 2019 Spring Benefit as it is available, please visit here.