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NCI DCP News Summary

NCI Funds 32 Grants to Continue Early Detection Research Network's
Ground-Breaking Program of Biomarker Discovery and Validation

August 30, 2010

The NCI's Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) awarded 32 new five-year grants to researchers across the country for the discovery and validation of biological markers that signal the earliest stages of cancer. The awards fund:

  • 20 Biomarker Developmental Laboratories responsible for development and characterization of new biomarkers or refinement of existing biomarkers;
  • 8 Clinical Validation Centers which conduct clinical research on the validation of biomarkers in early cancer detection and risk assessment, and serve as resource centers by participating in collaborative biomarker validation studies;
  • 3 Biomarker Reference Laboratories that serve as a resource for clinical and laboratory validation of biomarkers; and a
  • Data Coordinating Management and Center which supports statistical and computational analyses, informatics infrastructure, and the coordination of network-wide meetings and conferences.

EDRN also has four collaborative groups that bring together scientists working on related organ sites:

The Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Collaborative Group is chaired by Steven J. Skates, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Karen Anderson, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The Colorectal and Other Gastrointestinal Cancers Collaborative Group is chaired by M. Anthony Hollingsworth, PhD, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Dean Brenner, MD, of the University of Michigan.
The Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Cancers Collaborative Group is chaired by Harvey Pass, MD, of New York University School of Medicine, and Pierre Massion, MD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and
The Prostate and Other Urologic Cancers Collaborative Group is chaired by Mark Rubin, MD, Weill Medical College, and James Brooks, MD, of Stanford University.

While current EDRN grants focus efforts on breast, colon, lung, pancreas, prostate, and ovarian cancers, through the EDRN Associate Member program and these Collaborative Groups, investigators researching any type of cancer may propose studies.

The new Network also elected Ian Thompson, MD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center as chair and Joshua LaBaer, MD, PhD, of Arizona State University as co-chair.

Since its creation in 2000, EDRN has progressed from a ground-breaking concept to an operational success, developing more than 127 biomarkers; launching 5 validation studies and completing three; and preparing markers for prevalidation and validation studies. More than 600 publications, 28 patents, and 14 licenses have been generated by research from EDRN scientists. EDRN established clear milestones for reaching 'go' or 'no-go' decisions during the biomarker development process. Based on statistical criteria, performance characteristics of biomarkers, and anticipated clinical use, more than 100 biomarkers have been stopped from further development due to their lack of performance.

Biomarker Developmental Laboratories (Funded under RFA CA-09-017)
Principal Investigator
Grant Title
Cancer Type Studied

Carlo Croce, MD
Ohio State University

MicroRNAs and Ultra Conserved non-coding RNAs: Biomarkers for Cancer Risk, Tumor Detection, Progression and Treatment

Epithelial cancers: lung, breast, prostate, colon

Hemant Roy, MD
Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute

Vadim Backman, PhD
Northwestern University

Spectral Markers for Early Detection of Colon Neoplasia


Paul Lampe, PhD
Samir Hanash, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Affinity-based Strategies to Fast Track Development of Colon Cancer Biomarkers


Robert Getzenberg, PhD
Johns Hopkins University

Robert Schoen, MD, MPH
University of Pittsburgh

Refinement and Discovery of Nuclear Matrix Protein Markers for Colorectal Cancer

Colon and rectum

William Grady, MD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD
Case Western Reserve University

Identify and Validate Novel Epigenetic Molecular Markers for Colorectal Neoplasm

Colon and rectum

Daniel Liebler, PhD
David Taab, PhD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt Biomarker Developmental Laboratory

Colon, rectum, and lung cancer

Steven Dubinett, MD
David Elashoff, PhD
University of California, Los Angeles

Avrum Spira, MD
Mark Lenburg, PhD
Boston University

The UCLA-Boston University Lung Cancer Biomarker Development Laboratory.


David Sidransky, MD
Johns Hopkins University

Integrated Development of Novel Molecular Markers


Harvey Pass, MD
Margaret Huflejt, PhD
New York University School of Medicine

The North American Mesothelioma Consortium


Sanjiv Gambhir, MD, PhD
James Brooks, MD
Stanford University

New Tools for Prostate Cancer Detection and Prognostication.


Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD
University of Michigan

Mark Rubin, MD
Weill Medical College

A Systems Biology Approach to the Development of Cancer Biomarkers: Extending work on TMPRSS2-ETS gene fusions, developing markers of disease aggression via next generation transcriptome sequencing.


Alvin Liu, PhD
University of Washington

EDRN Biomarker Developmental Lab


Dan Mercola, MD, PhD
University of California, Irvine

Chung Lee, PhD
Northwestern University

The Prostate Cancer Tumor Microenvironment Exhibits Differentially Expressed Genes


Hui Zhang, PhD
Johns Hopkins University

Glycoprotein Biomarkers for the Early Detection of Aggressive Prostate Cancer


Brian Haab, PhD
Van Andel Research Institute

Randall Brand, MD
University of Pittsburgh

Peter Allen, MD
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Detection of Pre-invasive Pancreatic Cysts using Protein and Glycan Biomarkers.


M. Anthony Hollingsworth, PhD
Surinder Batra, PhD
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Early Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer


Ann Killary, PhD
Subrata Sen, PhD
Marsha Frazier, PhD
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Biomarkers for the Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer


Joshua LaBaer, MD, PhD
Arizona State University

Karen Anderson, MD, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Biomarker Detection using NAPPA Tumor Antigen Arrays


Steven J. Skates, PhD
Michael Birrer, MD,PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital

Rony Darpkin, MD, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Steven Carr, PhD
Broad Institute

Proteomic, Genomic, and Longitudinal Pathways to Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Discovery


Eleftherios Diamandis MD, PhD
Mount Sinai Hospital
(Toronto, Canada)

An Integrated Systems Biology Approach for Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Discovery.


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Clinical Validation Centers (Funded under RFA CA-09-018)
Principal Investigator

Grant Title
Organ Site Focus

Dean Brenner, MD
University of Michigan

Great Lakes/New England Clinical Epidemiology and Validation

Esophagus, colon, other gastrointestinal markers

Paul Engstrom, MD
Fox Chase Cancer Center

Fox Chase Clinical Epidemiology and Validation Center

Breast, ovary

Christopher Li, MD, PhD, MPH
Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center

Breast and Ovary Cancer Clinical Validation Center

Breast, ovary

Jeffrey Marks, PhD
Duke University

Atlantic Breast and Gynecologic Clinical Validation Center

Breast, ovary, uterine cervix

Pierre Massion, MD
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Validation of Biomarkers of Risk for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer


William Rom, MD, MPH
New York University School of Medicine

New York University Lung Cancer Biomarker Center


Martin Sanda, MD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Harvard/Michigan/Cornell Prostate Cancer Biomarker Clinical Validation Center


Ian Thompson, MD
The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio

San Antonio Center of Biomarkers of Risk for Prostate Cancer


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Biomarker Reference Laboratories (Funded under RFA CA-09-019)
Principal Investigator
Grant Title

Daniel Chan, PhD
Johns Hopkins University

Clinical and Analytical Validation of Cancer Biomarkers

David Chia, PhD
University of California, Los Angeles

The Early Detection Research Network Biomarker Resource Laboratory at UCLA

Sanford Sass, MD
University of Maryland, Baltimore

University of Maryland, Baltimore Biomarker Reference Laboratory

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Data Management and Coordinating Center (Funded under RFA CA-09-020)
Principal Investigator
Grant Title

Ziding Feng, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Early Detection Research Network: Data Management and Coordinating Center

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