TGen News & Press Releases : Businessman-philanthropist assists TGen-VARI study of rare cancer

Phoenix, AZ, September 4, 2007--Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) have begun collecting saliva samples as part of a pilot study aimed at determining whether saliva contains information that may one day help physicians identify lung cancer earlier. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in both men and women.

The study was launched in November 2006 in collaboration with researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of Kansas. In this study, which is funded by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, saliva samples are collected from healthy people who are current, former smokers or never smokers. Separately, a saliva sample is collected from people who have a suspicious chest mass seen on CT scan or have been diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer, who are current, former smokers or never smokers. Never smokers account for roughly 10 percent of all lung cancer cases--up to 21,000 cases per year in the U.S.

The samples from healthy participants will be compared to the samples from people with lung cancer to identify gene expression alterations that may indicate lung cancer. If differences are identified, researchers will work to develop consistent genetic markers that could lead to routine saliva screening for lung cancer.

Glen J. Weiss, MD, Director of Thoracic Oncology at TGen Clinical Research Services, is a newly appointed investigator at TGen, and initiated this study at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

"Because there is currently not a standard screening test in place, lung cancer sadly tends to be diagnosed in the late stages," said Dr. Weiss. "A saliva screen would be a useful tool in identifying which patients should receive certain testing such as CT or X-ray, for instance. A saliva screen is also easier on patients than say a sputum screening, in which the sputum, or phlegm, needs to be coughed up from deep in the lungs."

The study is currently enrolling at Scottsdale Healthcare. The trial will enroll a total of 48 participants who will be asked to provide one saliva sample. Individuals between the ages of 40 and 79, with varied smoking histories or undergoing a work-up for possible early-stage lung cancer, are invited to apply to participate in the study.

Preliminary results are expected later this year.

Call Wendy Robertson, clinical research associate, at 480-323-1367 or 480-323-1350 for more information.

About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is focused on developing earlier diagnoses and smarter treatments. Translational genomics research is a relatively new field employing innovative advances arising from the Human Genome Project and applying them to the development of diagnostics, prognostics and therapies for cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes and other complex diseases. TGen's research is based on personalized medicine and the institute plans to accomplish its goals through robust and disease-focused research.

About Scottsdale Healthcare
Serving Arizona since 1962, Scottsdale Healthcare is a leader in partnering for research, medical and wellness initiatives. An independent, locally-based nonprofit health system, Scottsdale Healthcare's vision is "Setting the standard for excellence in personalized healthcare." Scottsdale Healthcare includes the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea and Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak hospitals, Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, TGen Clinical Research Services and Scottsdale Clinical Research Institute. In 2005 it became a primary clinical research site for the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

Media Contacts

TGen
Galen Perry
602.343.8423
[email protected]

Scottsdale Healthcare
Keith Jones
480-882-4910
[email protected]


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