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Current Grants

PI: Lisa Cannon-Albright, PhD
Informative Linkage Analysis of High-Risk Pancreatic Cancer Pedigrees
American Association for Cancer Research (11-60-25-CANN) 7/1/11-6/30/13

This study looks for the gene mutations, both common and rare, that affect pancreas cancer risk in families. Gene identification will further understanding of pancreas cancer and can someday provide useful clinical information for family members with the disease. It may also lead to new therapies and diagnostics for pancreas cancer. The researchers use the Utah Population Database to create a pool of large families with high rates of pancreas cancer. They gather DNA from pancreas cancer patients from pathology samples collected by the largest health care provider in Utah since the 1960s and Huntsman Cancer Institute since 2000.
Using these samples, they are performing the first search for pancreas cancer genes in multiple high-risk families, using a new approach that allows use of stored tissue samples for informative genetic analysis.

PIs: Sean J. Mulvihill, MD, and Marc D. Porter, PhD
Magnetoresistive Sensor Platform for Parallel Cancer Marker Detection
NCI/NIH (5U01CA15650-02) 9/1/10-7/31/15

PIs: Sean J. Mulvihill, MD, and Marc D. Porter, PhD
Advanced Development of a Multiplexed SERS-based Biomarker Detection Platform
NCI/NIH (1R33CA155586-01A1) 9/21/11-8/31/14

In these two grants, physicians and scientists from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and the Nano Institute of Utah are working together to create an early diagnostic test for pancreas cancer using nanotechnology. At the Nano Institute, researchers are working on technology platforms to capture, hold, and measure pancreatic cancer biomarkers from a patient's blood sample. At the same time, other members of the research team are part of a nationwide effort to discover the best profile of proteins and other biomarkers that signal the early stages of pancreas cancer. Taken together, the grants have the goal of developing a quick and accurate system to test for the presence of pancreas cancer from just a few drops of a patient's blood.