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NYU Dental Researchers Investigate the Potential of Genomics to Tailor Treatment for Oral Cancer

December 11, 2013

Brian Schmidt, College of Dentistry professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and director of the NYU Oral Cancer Center and the NYU Bluestone Center for Clinical Research, and Donna Albertson, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery and leader of the oral cancer genomics research program at the NYU Oral Cancer Center, have received a $150,000 collaborative research grant from the National Institutes of Health to advance their work on biomarkers of oral cancer metastasis. Schmidt and Albertson are co-principal investigators on the project, which will fund groundbreaking research aimed at customizing treatment for oral cancer patients.

When oral cancer metastasizes to the neck, a patient’s five-year survival rate is reduced by 50 percent. Accordingly, determining the risk for metastasis is critical for survival, but there are no current diagnostic techniques to accurately predict metastasis. As a result, surgeons often opt for a prophylactic neck dissection, a procedure that requires three to four hours of surgery, and, in many cases, is unnecessary. Identifying a biomarker that can accurately predict metastasis might avoid unnecessary surgery, reduce patient morbidity, and reduce resource expenditure.

Other participating institutions include MD Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Maryland, the Providence Cancer Center in Portland, Oregon, and the University of California, San Francisco. Patients will be recruited through the NYU Oral Cancer Center, the University of Maryland, and the Providence Cancer Center, and the trial will be designed and managed by the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research.

—Elyse Bloom


Type: Article

NYU Dental Researchers Investigate the Potential of Genomics to Tailor Treatment for Oral Cancer

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