R.I. hospital nets $11M for biomarker, proteomics research

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Rhode Island Hospital in Providence has received an $11 million renewal of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to fund research on molecular pathology technologies and proteomics at its Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Center for Cancer Research Development (CCRD).

The five-year grant from the NIH's National Center for Research Resources guarantees that the laboratory-based cancer-research program will continue through 2013.

One area under expoloration at the COBRE CCRD is proteomics–the identification and quantification of proteins with the goal of determining how they interact, how their expression changes by disease and how they are modified by environmental change. This type of research has the potential to go from "bench to bedside," by identifying breakthroughs that will translate to changes in the treatment of patients with cancer, according to the facility.

Another research area at COBRE CCRD is molecular pathology, which deals with the characterization of the molecular and cellular events critical to the development of cancer, with the goal of identifying biomarkers with diagnostic and prognostic potential.

"Over the past five years we have established an infrastructure and the technology to support basic research in the area of gastrointestinal cancer and to engage investigators in developing new research initiatives centered around the role of adult stem cells in the genesis of cancer," said principal investigator Douglas Hixson, PhD. "This year we also received a $500,000 economic stimulus fund grant that allowed our proteomics core to purchase a state-of-the art imaging mass spectrometer. By allowing investigators to identify proteins differentially expressed in malignant and normal cells by directly scanning tissue sections, this exciting new technology will accelerate the identification of biomarkers by directly linking the fields of proteomics and molecular pathology."