Page last updated at 05:52 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 06:52 UK

NI technology helps cancer study

Almac
Almac's technology is being used in the cancer study

A Northern Ireland company is to play a key part in a major new breast cancer study in the US.

Genetic differences in breast cancers across different ethnic groups will be examined using technology developed in Northern Ireland by Almac Diagnostics.

It is working with cancer researchers at the University of Miami, Miller.

The academics will use Almac's Cancer DSA technology to gather highly detailed genetic information from tumour samples.

Professor Paul Harkin, of Almac Diagnostics, said: "Our cutting edge technology allows researchers to gain more information from present clinical tissue samples than was previously possible.

"It also means that we can now gain genetic information from historic samples, going back many years, which were stored either when genetic analysis was not as advanced or under conditions which made it very difficult to extract relevant data.

Innovative

"This is one of a stream of studies we are involved in where our technology has supported top level international research institutions in their endeavours to develop new and innovative treatments for cancers."

The study has been given a research grant of $750,000 by the US Department of Defence.

Lisa Baumbach, associate professor of paediatrics at the Miller School said: "Recent discoveries using the Almac Breast Cancer DSA indicate there may be distinct genetic differences in breast tissue between African-American, Caucasian and Hispanic patients.

"The new grant will allow the UM team to take those findings a step further, with an international collaboration on women of African descent."



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