DHHS, NIH News  
National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Friday, November 19, 2004

NCI Press Office

NCI Funds 17 Early Detection Research Network Biomarker Development Laboratories, Sustaining the Momentum of Biomarker Discovery

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded $9.8 million in first year funding for 17 Biomarkers Developmental Laboratories within the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). Biomarkers are substances found in the blood, other body fluids, or tissues that alone or in combination may signal the presence of cancer or the risk for cancer. The newly funded laboratories role within the EDRN is to discover new biomarkers relevant to major cancers and to identify what combinations of biomarkers may best detect the presence or risk of cancer.

This award marks the second round of 5-year funding for components of the Network. Of 68 applications received to be Biomarker Developmental Laboratories, 22 were rated as excellent to outstanding and 17 were selected for funding. About 40 percent of grantees are new to the network, which began in 1999. New laboratories are noted in the chart below with an asterisk (*).

The other components of the EDRN are Biomarker Validation Laboratories, which work to validate the biomarker tests, Clinical and Epidemiologic Centers, which conduct the early phases of clinical and epidemiological research on the application of biomarkers, and the Data Management and Coordinating Center which provides logistical, informatics, and statistical development and support.

These new Biomarker Developmental Laboratories have one of the biggest challenges in biomarker research: searching through hundreds of samples using a variety of technologies to identify candidate biomarkers. These investigators will examine the human genome (genetic material), proteome (proteins made by genes), epitome (immune response biomarkers via antibody-antigen patterns), and metabolome (metabolic pathways and regulation) looking for potential ways to identify cancer and cancer risk. In a quest to discover cancer at the earliest stage of progression, biomarkers are often used as a mile post of cancer progression. They mark the critical events along the progression pathway from normal cell, to precancerous cell, to malignant cell.

"The Biomarkers Developmental Laboratories are a critical partner in NCI's effort to rapidly discover and evaluate biomarkers for clinical applications," said Sudhir Srivastava, Ph.D., chief of the Cancer Biomarker Research Group in NCI's Division of Cancer Prevention, home of the EDRN. "This new pool of funded investigators are applying cutting edge technologies to accelerate discovery at an unprecedented stage. The synergized power of DNA arrays, protein arrays, and bioinformatics are being used to help decipher hundreds of thousands of leads to discover unique signatures for early cancer."

"There is great promise in using biomarkers for early detection of cancer," says NCI Deputy Director Anna Barker. "EDRN provides the necessary collaborative platform and the systematic approach to validation of potential biomarkers that will ultimately bring biomarker diagnostic tests for cancer into the clinic."

For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI Web site at http://www.cancer.gov or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

Principal Investigator
Institution (alphabetic by last name)
* = new grantee
Organ Focus Technology/
William L. Bigbee, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh
Cancer Center,
Pittsburgh, Pa.
ColonProteomics Predicant Biosciences
Timothy Block, Ph.D.
Drexel University
Philadelphia, Pa.
Liver Proteomics
Xenomics, Inc.
Immunotype, Inc.
*Paul Cairns, Ph.D.
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Philadelphia, Pa.
Kidney Methylation,
*Arul Chinnaiyan, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Prostate Genomics,
and Immune
GMP Companies, Inc.
Bogdan A.Czerniak, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Texas
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Bladder Genomics  
*Laura J. Esserman, M.D., M.B.A.
University of California,
San Francisco, Calif.
Breast Genomics and
Sequenom, Biotrue,
BD Biosciences,
Celera Diagnostics,
Predicant Biosciences,
Wilbur A. Franklin, M.D.
University of Colorado
Health Science Center
Denver, Colo.
Lung Genomics  
Adi F. Gazdar, M.D.
University of Texas
Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, Texas
Lung Genomics and
Rules-Based Medicine
Samir Hanash, M.D., Ph.D.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer
Research Center
Seattle, Wash.
Lung and others Proteomics and
*Michael Hollingsworth, Ph.D.
University of Nebraska
Medical Center
Omaha, Neb.
Pancreas Proteomics and
Mice Models
*Anne M. Killary, Ph.D.
University of Texas
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas
Pancreas Genomics  
*Alvin Y. Liu, Ph.D.
University of Washington
Seattle, Wash.
Prostate and
Proteomics MacroGenics Inc.
Jeffery R. Marks, Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, N.C.,
Breast Genomics
(Gene Expression)
Abbott Laboratories
Diagnostic Division
Stephen J. Meltzer, Ph.D.
University of Maryland
School of Medicine
Baltimore, Maryland
Esophagus Genomic and
*Hemant K. Roy, M.D.
Evanston Northwestern
Research Institute
Evanston, Ill.
Colon Spectral imaging 
J. Oliver Semmes, Ph.D.
Eastern Virginia
Medical School
Norfolk, Va.
MultiProteomics Ciphergen,
Predicant Biosciences
David Sidransky, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
Lung Genomics Oncomethylome Sciences,

**Please note that when this release was originally published, "Predicant Biosciences" was listed as "Biospect."

NIH logo   Home > News & Events
Subscribe to receive future NIH news releases.