Cancer centers form partnership

A new partnership formed by the UC Davis Cancer Center and the Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center (JAX) could help find better and more effective cures to cancer.

This recent consortium will allow for a greater array of testing, as researchers from both institutes will have larger quantities of mice and tumors to test.

“We are really excited about this,” said Ralph deVere White, director of the UC Davis Cancer Center.

White attested that many cancer treatments currently employed are not effective to people due to molecular differences in tumors, and believes this partnership will greatly enhance research for both the UC Davis Cancer Center and JAX.

“Each side benefits with this partnership, as each side brings great expertise,” White said.

Having a better number and quality of mouse available will allow the centers to find a more reliable predictor of what happens within patients, according to White.

“We have to look at the molecular analysis before putting the tumor in the mouse, to then see if what is responsive in the mouse is also responsive in the human,” White said. “It can help right away, but will realistically help patients within three to five years.”

The UC Davis Cancer Center ranks in the top 1 percent of cancer research centers in the world, according to White. It is something he believes they should be proud of, but not enough to cause complacency.

“If we don’t strive to get better, we’ll get worse,” he said.

Susie Airhart [CQ], senior director of strategic alliances at JAX, echoed White’s excitement over the partnership.

“Together, we’ve formed a truly meaningful partnership,” she said.

The Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center is a non-profit genetic research institute that makes great numbers of mice available to many research centers.

“We’re making viable what’s not commercially viable, we make available over 1,000 strains,” Airhart said.

She believes that current cancer treatments are not working well, and that teaming up with the UC Davis Cancer Center will allow them to develop more effective cancer treatments.

Airhart thinks the greatest benefit of the joint venture will be improving both sides’ understanding of how to deal with genetic diversity in cancer treatments.

Both White and Airhart acknowledged that the research centers had been working together prior to their official partnership for about 10 years. Each believes the ongoing interaction they have has produced this opportunity.

More information on the research done by the two centers can be found at ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cancer and jax.org.

ERIC C. LIPSKY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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