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Early Detection Research Network Completes Re-competition for Labs and Centers

  • Posted: May 12, 2005

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded $11 million to complete funding for the next five years of research from the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). EDRN brings together dozens of institutions to help accelerate the translation of biomarker information into clinical application and to evaluate new ways of testing for cancer in its earliest stages and for cancer risk.

Thirteen grants are being awarded to three of the network's four components. Four of the grants are to institutions new to EDRN. Funding was awarded to:

  • Eight Clinical Epidemiology and Validation Centers, which conduct the early phases of clinical and epidemiological research on the application of biomarkers;
  • Four Biomarker Reference Laboratories, which work to validate the biomarker tests; and
  • One Data Management and Coordinating Center/Informatics Center, which provides logistical, informatics, and statistical development and support. The Informatics Center comes through an interagency agreement between the NCI and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the U.S. National Aeronautic and Space Administration.

Funding for the fourth component of the network, the Biomarker Development Laboratories, was awarded late last year (

Biomarker discovery is important because these substances are sometimes found in body fluids or tissues and high levels of biomarkers could mean that a certain type of cancer is present. Examples of biomarkers include CA125 (ovarian cancer), CEA (ovarian, lung, breast, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract cancers), and PSA (prostate cancer).

In the next five years, EDRN is poised to meet the needs for biomarker discovery and validation in expanding the biomarker pipeline for cancer detection and risk assessment. "These components, together with Biomarker Development Laboratories funded last fall, provide an accomplished and vibrant foundation for NCI's effort to discover and evaluate cancer biomarkers that can be quickly translated to clinical applications," said Sudhir Srivastava, Ph.D., chief of the Cancer Biomarker Research Group in NCI's Division of Cancer Prevention, and the NCI scientist in charge of the EDRN. "These investigators are using the latest DNA, protein, and informatics technologies to speed discovery of unique signatures for early cancer of numerous organ sites."

The network's overarching goal is to establish meticulously validated biological markers that are ready for large-scale clinical testing. The next five years of funding will build on progress made to date in a strengthened network infrastructure, increased by usage of novel technologies and rigorous methods to prove the efficacy of biological markers of disease, and key research milestones in the development and validation of biomarkers.

Clinical Epidemiology and Validation Centers
Principal Investigator Institution
(alphabetic by last name)
Organ FocusFunding Period (by calendar year)
Dean E. Brenner, M.D.
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Daniel W. Cramer, M.D.
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Boston, MA
Paul Engstrom, M.D.
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Philadelphia, PA
Henry T. Lynch, M.D.
Creighton University
Omaha, NE
Alan Partin, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
William N. Rom, M.D.
New York University School of Medicine
New York, NY
Martin Sanda, M.D.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Boston, MA
Ian M. Thompson, M.D. University of Texas Health Science Center
San Antonio, TX
Elizabeth R. Unger, M.D., Ph.D. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA

Biomarkers Reference Laboratories
Principal Investigator Institution
(alphabetic by last name)
Organ FocusFunding Period
Peter E. Barker, Ph.D.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, Maryland
All Sites2001-2010
Daniel W. Chan, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
All Sites2005-2010
David Chia, Ph.D.
University of California
Los Angeles, CA
All Sites2000-2010
William E. Grizzle, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Alabama
Birmingham, AL
All Sites2000-2010
Sanford A. Stass, M.D. University of Maryland
Baltimore, Maryland
All Sites2005-2010

Data Management and Coordinating Center
Principal Investigator Institution (alphabetic by last name)Organ FocusFunding Period
Ziding Feng, Ph.D.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, WA
All Sites2000-2010

Informatics Center
Principal Investigator Institution (alphabetic by last name)Organ FocusFunding Period
Dan Crichton, M.S.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA
All Sites2001-2010

For more information about the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN), visit the EDRN home page at

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