MUMC Research Accepted in Prestigious Publication

(November 1, 2007) – Research conducted at the William and Iffath Hoskins Center for Biomedical Research at Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC) has been published in the October 1 issue of the prestigious peer-reviewed and internationally known Cancer Research, the flagship journal of the American Association of Cancer Research.

The research, titled “Whole-Genome Profiling in Liposarcomas Reveals Genetic Alterations Common to Specific Telomere Maintenance Mechanisms,” was authored by Dominique Broccoli, Ph.D., and J.E. Johnson., Ph.D., along with colleagues from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

“This will draw international attention to the research being conducted here at the Hoskins Center in Savannah. In addition, it will help us receive grants and funding for continued research,” said Broccoli.

There are six characteristics of cancer cells. One of these is the ability to grow and divide forever. Cancer cells can do this because they acquire the ability to maintain the ends of their chromosomes, called telomeres. There are two ways a cancer cell can maintain telomeres. Most tumors use one of the mechanisms but sarcomas use both. Previous work from others has shown that the mechanism used to maintain telomeres predicts patient survival. In this study, the researchers characterized the genomes (DNA) of liposarcomas that use the different telomere maintenance mechanisms. They found that these tumors have different changes in their DNA. This may explain the differences in patient survival and lead to better treatment of sarcomas.

With these genetic changes identified, Broccoli and her team will continue to characterize these tumors and test the role of these mutations.

“We are working to figure out better ways to help people fight cancer. Analysis such as this may lead to new treatments that target the tumor-specific genetic changes,” said Broccoli.

Dominique Broccoli, Ph.D., is a member of the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute* at Memorial University Medical Center Department of Laboratory Oncology Research and Professor, Departments of Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Division of Basic Medical Science, Mercer University School of Medicine -- Savannah Campus.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed tertiary medical center; CareOne, its two-state home care division; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center. Memorial University Medical Center is the only hospital in the country to be named both a Distinguished Hospital by J.D. Power and Associates and one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" by Fortune magazine.

*The Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial University Medical Center is not affiliated with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.