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Monday, October 1, 2004

















$13 Million Grant For Integrative Cancer Biology Program

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded Berkeley Lab's Life Sciences Division over $2.5 million per year for the next five years to establish and administer a multidivisional, multi-institutional program in integrative cancer biology. The goal of the program is to develop and test a computational model of signaling networks involved in cancer, a model that can be used to identify patients who will respond to treatments targeted at these networks. The hope is that by identifying these small groups before clinical trials begin, drugs that are effective with some but not all patients will not be overlooked.

Joe W. Gray, director of LSD, leads the effort in collaboration with Frank McCormick of the University of California at San Francisco. Other LSD investigators include Mary Helen Barcellos-Hoff, Mina Bissell, and Paul Yaswen, who will be working with Bahram Parvin in the Computational Research Division and Jian Jin in the Engineering Division. The Berkeley Lab and UCSF researchers are also collaborating with investigators at SRI International and the Netherlands Cancer Institute, NKI.

NCI's Integrative Cancer Biology Programs are intended to promote the analysis of cancer as a complex biological system and to embody this knowledge in computational systems that can be used predictively, an objective the Berkeley Lab-led program will meet with precision.

The direct target of the modeling effort is a specific signaling pathway known as Raf-MEK-ERK, one that is highly involved in some forms of breast cancer. The tools developed to model and identify this pathway will have wide application to other breast-cancer signaling pathways.

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