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As part of T.E.A.L.®’s 2017 Medical Research Program, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (Co-PIs Dr. Tian-Li Wang, Dr. Tom Pisanic, and Dr. Amanda Nickles Fader) were awarded $10,000 towards their project Developing a microfluidic DNA methylation assessment platform for early noninvasive detection of ovarian cancer. This project is working to identify tumor-specific alterations in early precursor lesions of ovarian cancer and to exploit these alterations as biomarkers to detect ovarian cancers at early and low-volume stages.

Below you can find a press release from the researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Methylomic analysis identifies tumor-specific alterations in early precursor lesions of ovarian cancer. 

The goal of our study is to discover epigenetic alterations present in early precursor lesions of ovarian cancers and to exploit these alterations as biomarkers for early detection of this disease. Considerable effort has been made towards developing tests of protein and genetic biomarkers, including CA-125 and TP53 mutations, for early detection, but these approaches have yet to demonstrate sufficiently robust performance to warrant recommendations for use in general screening. We rationalize that epigenomic alterations which lead to gene silencing can occur during or even prior to the development of precursor lesions. We will therefore use these epigenetic markers to refine current genetics-based cancer detection tools. Our hope is that by combining genetic and epigenetic markers, we will be able to develop a detection modality with greatly enhanced sensitivity and specificity. Toward this goal, we assembled a multidisciplinary team at Johns Hopkins consisting of investigators, Dr. Thomas Pisanic (biomedical engineering), Dr. Amanda Fader (gynecology and oncology), and Dr. Tian-Li Wang (cancer genetics).

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