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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 01/13/00
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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UC Researcher Part of National Consortium To Develop Mouse Models of Human Cancers

Cincinnati--The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine received $2.3 million over a five-year period from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to fund UC researchers that are part of a multicenter cancer research project. Joanna Groden, PhD, associate professor of molecular genetics at the UC College of Medicine, is one of the 19 principal investigators of a national research consortium recently established by the NCI. "Dr. Groden is one of the three Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators in Ohio, and this designation by the NCI is further recognition of her excellence as a scientist," says John Hutton, MD, dean of the UC College of Medicine. Groden's research focuses on learning how cancer occurs, specifically by inherited predisposition. "To accomplish this, she is studying several different genes and proteins involved in tumor formation, has isolated a colon cancer gene called APC, and has isolated the Bloom's syndrome gene," says Hutton.

NCI established the Mouse Models of Human Cancers Consortium by funding 19 new groups of investigators from more than 30 institutions in the United States. The Consortium will provide a new interactive research platform to study the development and behavior of cancer, to test new approaches to detection, diagnosis, and imaging, and to evaluate prevention and treatment. Consortium members will work to develop models that parallel the ways human cancers develop, progress, and respond to therapy or preventive agents.

The aim of the Consortium is to greatly improve our understanding of cancer and to better evaluate the biomarkers that can be used to more accurately predict a person's predisposition to cancer. Initially, the 19 groups will work separately on developing and evaluating mouse models for cancers of eight major organ systemsóbreast, prostate, lung, ovary, skin, blood and lymph system, colon, and brain.

Groden says, "Consortium members will share their observations and accomplishments, and explore possible solutions to any technological challenges that presently limit mouse models as effective mimics of human disease." The models will also support discovery of new cancer-related genes and reveal the pathways and processes through which cancer-related genes affect human cancer development, promote tumor progression, and metastasis. Ultimately, the models will be used to test new means for the treatment and detection of cancer.

The Consortium will establish and maintain a high-quality resource of validated live mouse models, cryopreserved mouse embryos, and sperm, as a resource for researchers. It also will set standards for integrating information and tracking the progress of the development of the mouse models.

To stimulate feedback and insight offered by potential and existing users of the mouse models by both the clinical and basic cancer researchers, the NCI will establish internet discussion groups on preclinical mouse models, specific models such as breast cancer models, genomic technologies, or other themes. "The NCI will give the cancer research community access to the models, the experimental tactics used to derive and validate the models, and the knowledge about the models and their practical uses that are developed," says Cheryl Marks, PhD, head of the NCI staff who will coordinate Consortium leadership.

The other 18 researchers and institutions that are part of the national consortium include:

  • Cory Abate-Shen, PhD, Rutgers, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ
  • Donna Albertson, PhD, and Allan Balmain, MD, University of California, San Francisco, CA
  • Robert J. Coffey, MD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Ronald DePinho, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
  • William Dove, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  • Jeffrey Green, PhD, Div. of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
  • Norman M. Greenberg, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Thomas Hamilton, PhD, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
  • Mark A. Israel, MD, University of California, San Francisco, CA
  • Tyler E. Jacks, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
  • Raju Kucherlapati, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, The Bronx, NY
  • Eva Y.-H. P. Lee, PhD, University of Texas, San Antonio, TX
  • Daniel Medina, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
  • Pier Paolo Pandolfi, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
  • Charles Sawyers, MD, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
  • Kevin Shannon, MD, University of California, San Francisco, CA
  • Terry A. Van Dyke, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

For more information on Consortium grantees and contact information, please call (301) 496-6641 or visit NCI 's web site for patients, public, and the mass media at

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