NCI Division of Cancer Prevention

Branch: Cancer Biomarkers Research Group
Institution: NCI, Bethesda, MD

Alliance activities are coordinated by a number of Program Directors in the Division of Cancer Prevention's Cancer Biomarkers Research Group. They help oversee the activities of the Coordination Unit, promote interactions with other NIH programs and grantees, and facilitate access to research resources.

Numerous studies comparing normal and tumor cells have shown that changes in glycan structures on the cell correlate with cancer development. Compared to proteins, glycans are extremely abundant. Recent advances in technology now allow the effective and systematic study of these molecular structures. The mission of the Alliance is to study the structure and function of glycans relevant to cancer development, using a variety of approaches and technologies, in order to develop clinically useful biomarkers for early cancer detection. This charge requires extensive collaborations across institutions, each with different skills and facilities.

The Tumor Glycomics Laboratories are the principal component of the Alliance of Glycobiologists for Cancer Research. The other members of the Alliance are NCI's Early Detection Research Network, the Consortium for Functional Glycomics and Glycomics and Glycotechnology Resource Centers supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the Programs of Excellence in Glycosciences administered by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.