Large Grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure to Fund Unique Research Collaboration

Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­eral Hos­pital (MGH) and North­eastern University’s Bar­nett Insti­tute have announced a $1,266,328 grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure to carry out a novel breast cancer research project. The joint award brings together leading researchers from both insti­tu­tions to dis­cover pro­tein bio­markers that can pre­dict which women with benign diag­noses will go on to develop breast cancer, and which will remain cancer free.

As part of the research study, co-​​principals Dennis C. Sgroi, MD of MGH and Barry L. Karger (to the right), Ph.D. of North­eastern will work with archived tissue sam­ples from MGH patients. The normal breast tis­sues and the spec­i­mens from breast cancer patients will go through detailed com­par­a­tive pro­tein analyses by Karger’s laboratories.

Using bioin­for­matics tools, the researchers will iden­tify pro­teins that are dif­fer­en­tially abun­dant in breast cancer epithe­lium as com­pared with normal breast epithe­lium. These breast cancer-​​associated pro­teins (BCAPs) will serve as poten­tial bio­markers of breast cancer.

Sgroi’s research group will val­i­date the can­di­date BCAPs in the unique cohort of benign breast cancer patients at MGH. Each BCAP will be eval­u­ated indi­vid­u­ally as well as in com­bi­na­tion with other BCPAs to deter­mine the pro­tein expres­sion sig­na­ture that pre­dicts for increased risk of breast cancer in this population.

We antic­i­pate that through this process we will iden­tify a pro­teomic bio­marker sig­na­ture that is prog­nostic for increased breast cancer risk for these patients,” said Sgroi, director of Breast Pathology at MGH, and asso­ciate pro­fessor of Pathology at Har­vard Med­ical School, and prin­cipal inves­ti­gator of the grant. “The devel­op­ment of such a bio­marker sig­na­ture will help clin­i­cians better iden­tify the subset of benign breast dis­ease patients who likely ben­efit from aggres­sive breast cancer mon­i­toring and ther­a­peutic pre­ven­tion strategies.

The research teams of MGH and Northeastern’s Bar­nett Insti­tute are excited about the oppor­tu­ni­ties in the clin­ical man­age­ment of breast cancer that are pro­vided by the avail­ability of new technologies.

Prior to the recent uti­liza­tion of advanced bio­an­a­lyt­ical tech­nolo­gies, researchers were unable to iden­tify the subset of patients who are likely to develop breast cancer,” said Karger, director of the Bar­nett Insti­tute and James L. Waters chair at North­eastern, and co-​​principal inves­ti­gator of the grant. “The Bar­nett Institute’s state-​​of-​​the-​​art pro­teomic mass spec­tro­metric tech­nolo­gies will enable us to iden­tify and val­i­date a pro­teomic bio­marker sig­na­ture that is prog­nostic for increased breast cancer risk in benign breast dis­ease patients.”

The grant was awarded through the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Focused Areas of Study pro­gram and will pro­vide $1.26 mil­lion in research funding over three years.

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact Renata Nyul at 617–373-7424 or at r.​nyul@​neu.​edu.

About The Bar­nett Insti­tute at North­eastern University

The Bar­nett Insti­tute at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is rec­og­nized inter­na­tion­ally as one of the pre­mier cen­ters for cutting-​​edge research and advanced training in ana­lyt­ical chem­istry for bio­med­ical appli­ca­tions. Estab­lished in 1973, the Institute’s close ties to the med­ical com­mu­nity and industry in Boston and beyond, along with its active pro­gram of licensing tech­nology, pro­vides for many “real life” appli­ca­tions of research advances which have led to innu­mer­able pub­lished papers and 70 patents.Bioanalytical research is at the inter­face of biology, med­i­cine, infor­matics and chem­istry. Stu­dents and staff in the Insti­tute are trained to think ana­lyt­i­cally and to under­stand the com­plexity of bio­log­ical sam­ples. The Institute’s entre­pre­neurial approach and com­mit­ment to excel­lence has trained over 300 stu­dents to become leaders in industry and acad­emia worldwide.

About the Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­eral Hospital

Founded in 1811, the MGH is the third oldest gen­eral hos­pital in the United States and the oldest and largest in New Eng­land. The 900-​​bed med­ical center offers sophis­ti­cated diag­nostic and ther­a­peutic care in vir­tu­ally every spe­cialty and sub­spe­cialty of med­i­cine and surgery. The MGH con­ducts the largest hospital-​​based research pro­gram in the country, with an annual research budget of more than $500 mil­lion. It is the oldest and largest teaching hos­pital of Har­vard Med­ical School, where nearly all MGH staff physi­cians serve on the fac­ulty. The MGH was the first in the state to achieve Magnet status for nursing, and it is con­sis­tently ranked among the nation’s top hos­pi­tals by US News and World Report. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.mass​gen​eral​.org.

About North­eastern

Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.