Community Foundation of Broward Grants Assist Research Efforts at Memorial Cancer Institute

August 18, 2023

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Research grants provided by the Community Foundation of Broward have helped Memorial Cancer Institute, in collaboration with Florida Atlantic University (FAU), establish a patient registry and biorepository (“tumor bank”) for minority cancer patients. The effort is enhancing research findings and providing a more comprehensive understanding of cancer in minority populations.

Memorial Cancer Institute and FAU are in the second year of the study, which is funded, in part, by a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Community Foundation. The nonprofit has previously provided $200,000 in research-related dollars for liquid biopsies and breast cancer.

Previous studies included both clinical data and biological specimens from 50 minority patients, including Black and Hispanics. Next-Generation Sequencing analysis of breast cancer tissue samples from 40 of the patients was successfully completed, with digital analysis of the reports then correlated with the participant’s clinical outcomes and blood samples.

“We’re thankful for grant funding that has enabled us to expand the minority biorepository to include a broad variety of solid tumor types and facilitate novel opportunities for advanced research and collaboration,” said Andres Alvarez, MD, PhD, director of the Oncology Clinical Research program at Memorial Healthcare System. “Our scope has now broadened to delve into cancers originating in essential anatomical sites like the lungs, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, urinary system, and reproductive tracts. This expansion fuels our dedication to advancing scientific knowledge and fostering impactful healthcare solutions.”

Memorial’s biorepository for minority cancer patients is the first of its kind in the state of Florida, which aims to improve the prognosis and outcomes for those with the disease.

The Community Foundation grants were secured by the nonprofit Memorial Foundation, which raises funds through philanthropy to assist patients, families, and to underwrite the cost of programs, facilities, and equipment within the Memorial Healthcare System.