WisBusiness: UW gets $7 million in federal money for cancer research

With a $7 million grant announced Wednesday, the National Institutes of Health have now pledged $14 million toward construction of a cancer research center at UW-Madison.

The most recent grant will go toward breast cancer research, while the $7 million announced in September will focus on prostate cancer. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor, announced both grants.

Both this year’s award and the one made last year are for the construction of different floors in the four-floor University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center/Interdisciplinary Research Complex, scheduled for groundbreaking late this year or early next year.

The grant funding will provide state-of-the-art laboratories, address an overall shortage of research space, and allow investigators, who now are spread out over multiple floors and buildings on the campus, to work in close proximity in order to collaborate on their research findings.

"Scientific discovery requires approaches that bring together — both physically and intellectually — scientists and clinicians with a broad range of expertise and skills," said Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, director of NIH. "By removing physical barriers, researchers at this facility can work as interdisciplinary teams — taking research gained from cellular and molecular discoveries in the laboratories and translating them into treatments and cures."

For the prostate cancer floor, the grant will fund research teams to design shared resources, including those related to microimaging, molecular pathology and high-throughput small molecule screening needed for new research. For breast cancer, in addition to enhancing opportunities for interdisciplinary research teams, the new facility will permit researchers to share resources, including an animal vivarium, a molecular screen facility, a flow cytometry laboratory, and a molecular pathology/tissue bank facility.

"We are very grateful to Secretary Thompson and the Department of Health and Human Services for approving our grant proposal and recognizing the quality of research at the UW Medical School and Comprehensive Cancer Center," said Dr. George Wilding, director of the center. "By bringing together a collaborative mix of basic scientists and clinical investigators in one setting with state-of-art equipment, we will be even better positioned to address the causes, prevention and treatment of breast cancer patients."