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McGill University Health Center Receives $250K for Colorectal Cancer Research Program

NEW YORK – The McGill University Health Center Foundation in Montreal said on Monday it has received C$250,000 ($202,816) from Canadian construction company Pomerleau to support a colorectal cancer research program, in which investigators are using machine learning to identify molecular patterns in patients' blood samples that can enable personalized treatment.

Within the project, led by Peter Metrakos, head of cancer research at the health center's research institute, researchers will analyze stage IV colorectal cancer patients' blood samples using liquid biopsy techniques and use machine learning to identify patterns in DNA, RNA, and proteins associated with their cancer prognosis. They will then use these molecular patterns to develop a test that can predict advanced colorectal cancer patients' outcomes and provide more information that doctors can use to personalize care.

The funding from Pomerleau will support the program for five years. Canadian nonprofit Medteq+, funded by the Government of Quebec, the Government of Canada, and the private sector, is also providing matching funds for any donations provided by industry to this program.

In January, MUHC also partnered with artificial intelligence and life science research company MIMs and diagnostics company Caprion-HistoGeneX for this same program. If the research is successful, Caprion-HistoGeneX will develop the diagnostic to predict survival for colorectal cancer patients.