Research scientist Karolina Palucka consults on research projects in her lab. JACKSON LABORATORY PHOTO

Lab receives cancer center grant

BAR HARBOR — The Jackson Laboratory last week announced that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has renewed the lab’s Cancer Center Support Grant for the 34th year.

As one of only seven basic research centers with this distinction in the United States, and the only NCI-designated center headquartered in Maine, the lab was recognized for its focus on advancing precision oncology through basic research discoveries. In total, the NCI Cancer Center program recognizes 71 organizations for being at the forefront of cancer research efforts in the United States.

“With our focus on complex genetics and functional genomics, coupled with the scale of our model creation and research, and the integration of JAX’s diverse and multidisciplinary talents, The Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center is a truly unique program,” said Edison T. Liu, MD, president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory, and director of The Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center. “We’re honored to be recognized by National Cancer Institute with this Cancer Center Support Grant renewal and to continue our important work to help people around the country and around the world impacted by cancer.”

The Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center’s research program, Genetic Models for Precision Cancer Medicine, unites the nonprofit’s resources in cancer model development, computational sciences, genetic engineering, phenotyping, as well as genome and single-cell technologies to provide comprehensive support for a wide-range of cancer research.

Through the center, Liu researches the functional genomics of breast cancer through an exploration of the entire genomic space. Karolina Palucka, deputy director, conducts research to understand how vaccines work and to precisely define the immune mechanisms that underlie vaccination, with a focus on cancer immunotherapies. Jennifer Trowbridge, co-program leader, researches regulation of stem cells in the blood in normal development, aging and leukemia transformation. Roel Verhaak, co-program leader, researches brain tumors, sequencing and computational biology. Susan Airhart, the cancer center’s associate director, oversees research administration.

The Jackson Laboratory Cancer Center was the first mammalian genetics research laboratory to receive NCI-designation in 1983. Today, the center has over 50 members in the lab’s facilities in Bar Harbor and Farmington, Conn.

In addition to research, the cancer center hosts a variety of courses and conferences designed to maximize professional scientific interaction for established cancer researchers and students.

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