There are few people who have not been impacted by cancer. Every day, more than 1,500 Americans die of cancer – about one person every minute. At its core, cancer is a disease of the genome. With HudsonAlpha’s expertise and innovation, researchers are approaching the disease with an eye on earlier detection and new treatments or therapies.
The HudsonAlpha Foundation hosted the annual Spring Benefit Thursday, April 25, where more than 600 HudsonAlpha supporters gathered at the Jackson Center to raise money to fuel cancer research at the Institute. Rick Myers, PhD, president and science director at HudsonAlpha addressed the audience.
“This affects really everyone,” said Rick Myers, PhD, HudsonAlpha president and science director. “We need this to happen. We need to eradicate cancer. We are making progress because of your support – through projects in early detection, targeted therapies and treatments as well as our community based efforts.”
Cancer, a disease of the genome
Cancer is a genetic disease that occurs because of changes in the genes that control how cells grow and divide. It develops when normal cells in the body lose control of their cell cycle, dividing uncontrollably and forming masses of cells, or tumors. Understanding the genes involved is key to cancer treatment.
Every type of cancer, from breast cancer to pancreatic cancer, has genetic subtypes. Each subtype has a different cause and requires different treatments. For that reason, some of the most promising advances in cancer research involve finding the genetic markers at the root of cancer that can point the way toward earlier diagnostics and targeted treatments that reduce the chances of recurrence.
HudsonAlpha scientists are uniquely qualified to uncover the genetic causes of many diseases. To date, our researchers have studied and made discoveries in nearly two dozen types of cancer that help advance our understanding. By leveraging our experience and expertise, our teams are positioned to lead the next decade of discovery in cancer research.
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% of Americans aged 50 and older have not utilized current screening methods for colon cancer.
In 2018, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology 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. Researchers are now applying this technology to many other cancers as well as other diseases.
We need your help
HudsonAlpha’s cancer research programs are focused on improving diagnosis, treatment and prognosis for everyone. Join us in the fight to help your family, friends and all of those suffering from cancer. Your gift could be the fuel that ignites the next discovery. Together, we have the power to save lives. Visit hudsonalpha.org/donate and choose the scientific advancement fund to support the HudsonAlpha’s cancer programs.