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Clinician-to-Clinician Update

Masonic Cancer Clinic
Clinics and Surgery Center
909 Fulton St., SE, Suite 202
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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Cancer Care Specialty Updates

Pilot project seeks to shed light on breast cancer progression

Masonic Cancer Clinic at the Clinics and Surgery Center
A University of Minnesota pilot project employing advanced gene-expression profiling technology seeks to develop a murine model of intraductal breast cancer progression. The investigation will assess about 350 genes from signaling pathways using NanoString profiling technology. NanoString technology is believed to be more robust than standard microarrays for analyzing samples from paraffin-embedded tissue. The technology has been used to develop a 70-gene signature for identifying mechanisms of stromal alteration in breast cancer progression. Douglas Yee, MD, and members of the Masonic Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Translational Working Group are collaborating with Andrew C. Nelson, PhD, in the pilot project.

Grant supports effort to identify ovarian cancer subtypes and therapies

University of Minnesota researchers have won a $60,000 Grand Challenges grant to pursue the development of a comprehensive genomic platform for use in identifying subtypes of ovarian cancers and in devising more-targeted therapies. University of Minnesota Health oncologist Boris Winterhoff, MD, and Andrew C. Nelson, PhD, and research team members aim to integrate comprehensive genomic platforms into a coherent whole to devise the precision medicine tool. The project will prospectively enroll patients and characterize their diseases by molecular subtypes in order to develop a precision medicine program for tailoring individual treatment. The inability to differentiate ovarian cancers into clinically meaningful subtypes has been a barrier to effective therapy. The new tool, researchers believe, can serve as a universal clinical precision medicine platform and enable classification of other cancers and disease processes. 

Next generation sequencing array for hematologic cancers

University of Minnesota researchers have developed a targeted next generation sequencing assay for common solid and hematologic cancers, according to published findings in Annals of Translational Medicine. The assay has high sensitivity and high specificity for these cancers, the authors report, and offers flexibility to test the small tissue samples often seen in routine clinical practice. The 21-gene panel described in the paper is clinically relevant for guiding therapy and can provide a framework for developing larger panels of genes involved in cancer.

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