A team in the Wilmot Cancer Institute at the University of Rochester Medical Center received more than $2 million from the National Cancer Institute for its continued genetic research.
The five-year grant will fund a series of new scientific experiments involving a gene known as Plac8. In earlier work, Wilmot investigators showed that by inactivating Plac8 they could stop or slow pancreatic tumor growth in mice and significantly extend survival.
Principle investigator Hartmut Land (pictured) and co-investigator Aram Hezel M.D. had been studying a wider system of genes and cellular events involved in cancer when they discovered the role of Plac8, URMC officials said.
Plac8’s cancer-specific role makes it a viable treatment target, said Land, co-director of the Institute and director of research.
“The goal is always to find precise interventions that do not impact healthy tissue,” he said, “and in this case we believe we have a novel opportunity.”
In May, the Wilmot Cancer Center received a $4 million gift from the Wilmot family and the James P. Wilmot Foundation that was marked to fund genomics research.
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