New NCI Initiative to Identify Genetic Risks for Breast and Prostate Cancer
NCI has launched an initiative to identify genetic alterations that make people susceptible to prostate and breast cancer, two of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States.
The Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) program is a 3-year initiative, funded for $14 million, that will conduct scans of the entire human genome (genotyping) to identify common, inherited gene mutations that increase the risks for breast and prostate cancer. The initiative will begin with the scanning of a total of 2,500 samples from men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and men who have not. San Diego-based Illumina, Inc., will conduct the rapid genotyping for the project.
"The CGEMS initiative represents the largest, comprehensive undertaking to identify the genetic risk factors for two cancers that take the lives of a combined total of more than 70,000 men and women every year," said NCI Deputy Director for Strategic Scientific Initiatives Dr. Anna Barker. "This project promises to provide a needed database to support the development of novel strategies for the early detection and prevention of these diseases." Read more
Tough Choices, Continued Progress
Last week it was announced that the absolute number of annual cancer deaths has fallen for the first time in seven decades. The death rates from cancer have been declining since 1993, but now the actual number of cancer-related mortalities are yielding to our efforts. To my mind, that's momentous news. It proves that our antismoking messages, technologies that allow for earlier detection of disease, and improved treatments are having an impact. It also proves that our expectation of continued progress against cancer is well founded.
This news takes on special importance when considered in the context of our current budgetary situation. At last week's National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) meeting, in fact, the president's 2007 budget proposal for NCI was presented, and it sparked a critically important conversation about priorities. Read more