The National Foundation for Cancer Research and Penn State University Launch New Center for Metastatic Cancer Research

Mar 28, 2002, 00:00 ET from National Foundation for Cancer Research

    BETHESDA, Md., March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Foundation for Cancer
 Research and Penn State University today announced the formation of a New
 Center for Metastatic Cancer Research to be based at Penn State, Hershey
 working with the University of Chicago, with the goal of finding out what
 causes cancer to metastasize or spread -- and how the spread of cancer to the
 bones of an individual can be prevented.
     To achieve this goal, NFCR has assembled a team of investigators who have
 expertise in the many scientific disciplines necessary to fully study the
 process of metastasis in the areas of breast cancer, prostate cancer and bone
 biology.  The Center will be linked with seven other centers around the world
 to share collaborative information to help cure cancer.
     "Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases to families around the
 world and we are excited that Penn State and NFCR will be playing such an
 important role in the eventual cure," said Joan McAndrew, president of the
 Pennsylvania Cancer Research Chapter and organizer of an annual golf
 tournament in Hazleton, PA that raises funds to support metastatic cancer
 research.  "It is particularly rewarding to know that the combined efforts of
 many Hazleton area businesses and individuals have helped to make the
 establishment of this new Center at Penn State at Hershey a reality."
     Danny Welch, Ph.D. of the Jake Gittlen Cancer Research Institute at Penn
 State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was named Director of the new center.
 Dr. Welch is widely credited with identifying several genes that block
 metastasis in breast cancer and melanoma.  One gene, called breast cancer
 metastasis suppressor or BRMS1, could be a key to prevent the growth of
 cancerous tumors when they escape from the original tumor.
     Dr. Welch cites this new partnership as a crucial step towards unraveling
 the answers to one of cancer's more difficult challenges.
     "Metastasis is the ultimate step in a tumor cell's progression toward
 autonomy from the host and it is a highly complex process," says Welch.  "What
 makes this group so special is how we are bringing together people from the
 cancer fields and bone fields.  This alliance of researchers with different,
 but complementary, expertise could help us make significant inroads in
 ultimately preventing the spread of cancer."
     Research at the Center will focus initially on metastasis to the bone. Two
 of the most common cancers -- breast and prostate -- exhibit propensity to
 metastasize to bone, yet the number of studies in these areas is limited.
     "Dr. Welch is one of the world's leading scientists in metastatic cancer
 research and his work in this field we believe will one day lead to a cure for
 breast cancer, prostate cancer and many other types of cancer," said Dr.
 Sujuan Ba, science director for the NFCR.
     Since it's founding in 1973, the National Foundation for Cancer Research
 has provided more than $180 million to fund basic science cancer research in
 the laboratory.  NFCR's support of discovery-oriented basic science cancer
 research in the laboratory has helped redefine cancer as a molecular disease
 and opened the way for better prevention strategies, earlier diagnostic
 techniques and new anticancer drugs and treatments.  NFCR is about Research
 for a Cure and is dedicated to discovering cancer's molecular mysteries and
 translating these discoveries into therapies.  For more information, visit
 them on the web at or call (800) 321-CURE.
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SOURCE National Foundation for Cancer Research