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Breast cancer breakthroughs

Breast cancer breakthroughs
Breast cancer breakthroughs | Dr. Joel Parker

Dr. Joel Parker
These days it is not uncommon to find someone who has been impacted by cancer.
That is the case for a young Martin native who has vowed to be a part of the solution in the fight against breast cancer.
University of Tennessee at Martin graduate, Dr. Joel Parker, research assistant professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill and Director of the Bioinformatics Core at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, earned his Ph.D. in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.  He has co-authored more than 70 scientific manuscripts in the fields of genetics, toxicology, and clinical research.
Parker’s recent work has focused on the development of a breast cancer test and results from this study were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Clinical Cancer Research.  The work involved identifying a set of 50 genes that are necessary for accurate classification of breast cancer subtypes.  Current testing makes use of only two genes.
In contrast, the 50 gene test provides a more refined view of an individual’s tumor subtype.  
Parker’s work demonstrates that results of the 50 gene test are predictive of metastasis, survival, and sensitivity or resistance to certain chemotherapy regimens.  
Thus, the test result informs clinicians by providing an accurate assessment of patient prognosis, and helps tailor treatment options to an individual’s tumor.
Researchers are using the test in clinical trials to find “the definitive cure and/or prevention mechanism” for each type of breast cancer.  
Parker and colleagues from UNC, University of Utah, and Washington University co-authored a patent which is pending on this breast cancer assay.  
In December 2010, they licensed the intellectual property surrounding the test at NanoString Technologies, Inc., a privately held life sciences company in Seattle, Wash.
NanoString Technologies was given an exclusive license to commercialize and distribute the test worldwide for clinical use.  
In addition, ARUP lab at the University of Utah has licensed the patent to produce a non-distributed form of the test primarily for research use.  
 Parker, wife Jaclyn and their two sons, Cannon and Isaac, live in Apex, NC.
He is the son-in-law of Jim and Dee Cannon of Martin.

WCP 10.11.11

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