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International collaborators focus on early detection biomarkers

Participants at the 7th USA–Japan Workshop on Biomarkers for Cancer Early Detection presented cutting-edge research to improve early detection and cancer prevention using advanced biomarkers and radiomics. Their findings and recommendations are published in a special issue of Cancer Biomarkers.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) hold the workshop. The 7th USA–Japan Workshop was held at the Ito International Research Center at the University of Tokyo in January 2020.

Pierre Massion, MD, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and Professor of Medicine, presented at that conference and unexpectedly passed away on April 4, 2021. He was the lead primary investigator of the Clinical Validation Center (CVC) of the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) along with Eric L. Grogan, MD, MPH, associate professor of Thoracic Surgery. In honor of Massion’s decade of work developing and validating lung cancer biomarkers, Grogan, along with Michael N. Kammer, PhD, a research fellow in the Pierre Massion Laboratory, and other colleagues described the roles of the Vanderbilt University EDRN Lung CVC in phase 1, 2, and 3 lung cancer biomarker validation studies.

“Researchers from Japan and the U.S. have been meeting annually to exchange ideas for the early diagnosis and detection of cancer since 2016,” explained guest editor Kazufumi Honda, DDS, PhD, Department of Bioregulation, Graduate School of Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan. “These pipelines and platforms for early detection of cancer will contribute to the implementation of attractive new methods for early cancer diagnosis, with the potential to decrease cancer.”

The papers in this special issue describe new technologies for comprehensively measuring proteins and metabolites using mass spectrometry; validation studies to evaluate the clinical utility of new diagnostic methods; use of computational science to analyze large volumes of information acquired by new technology; and blood biomarkers that facilitate the early detection of pancreatic cancer and also help identify high-risk individuals.

“The development of biomarkers requires sizeable investment and infrastructure-related resources, and it takes several years to bring biomarkers to clinical use,” noted Sudhir Srivastava, PhD, chief of the Cancer Biomarkers Research Group, National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Prevention, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA, and Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Biomarkers. “The U.S.–Japan partnership will strengthen collaborations by creating a vehicle for each country to interact with and co-fund the development of the required infrastructure.”

Srivastava continued, “There is an urgent need to discover and validate biomarkers for less common cancers, and the collaboration between the U.S. and Japan could enhance the discovery process. It is hoped that such sharing of data and knowledge will continue to help tackle the complex issues surrounding biomarkers for early detection.”