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Joe Stuteville
School of Informatics

Last modified: Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lung cancer chemo patients may benefit from IU bioinformatics research

Nov. 16, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana University School of Informatics researcher has joined a team of IU scientists who seek to develop more effective chemotherapy treatments for lung cancer patients.

Jake Y. Chen

Jake Y. Chen, assistant professor of informatics

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Jake Y. Chen has been awarded a $174,000 grant to conduct bioinformatics research for the project Predictive Lung Cancer Systems Biology. The two-year grant comes from the IU Cancer Center-based Lung Cancer Working Group

"The overall project aims to improve the survivability of lung cancer patients after the surgical removal of tumors," said Chen, assistant professor of informatics at IU-Purdue University Indianapolis. He is joined by co-investigator Steve Valentine, a researcher at Predictive Physiology & Medicine, Inc., in Bloomington.

Chen's focus will be to collect proteomics profiles of patients, analyze lung cancer relevant proteins and apply data-mining techniques -- the process of automatically searching large volumes of data -- to predict which chemotherapy provides the most benefits to an individual patient.

Proteomics is the study of proteins' structures and functions, including the way they work and interact with each other inside cells. IU is well regarded for its proteomics research at the School of Medicine in Indianapolis and at its Bloomington campus.

Chen and Valentine will work closely with researchers and clinicians at the IU Cancer Center. Science directors of the project are cancer clinicians/researchers Larry Einhorn, IU Distinguished Professor and professor of medicine; and Nasser Hanna, assistant professor of medicine.

Einhorn is a recognized authority on the treatment of lung cancer, but perhaps is best known for his work in testicular cancer. In 1974, he and IU urologist John Donohue developed a chemotherapy regimen and surgical technique for testicular cancer patients that now boasts a 95 percent cure rate. Einhorn was the principal physician who successfully treated Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong for testicular cancer.

"This collaborative research is an example, if successful, of how to translate basic research into clinical application to patients," said Chen. "I am excited that the prospect of this research will have the direct impact of saving lives."