CLEVELAND, Ohio --  A five-year, $11.3 million National Cancer Institute grant will help Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine create a rare top-level research center that will have swift impact in the local community.

The grant, announced Friday, will fund research for the prevention and cure of gastrointestinal cancers, a group of cancers that affect parts of the GI tract such as the colon and esophagus. The federal funding specifies that results must come quickly, within months or years, as opposed to the decades taken by some medical research efforts.

Hundreds of Cleveland-area residents will be asked to participate in research trials -- and they will be asked to do so soon.

"We hope that ultimately the research that is done in this center is going to impact people everywhere, but we're particularly gratified that the people who will be affected most immediately are here in Cleveland," said Dr. Sanford Markowitz, a colon cancer geneticist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University School of medicine and director of the new center. 

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, wrote the National Cancer Institute in February (See the pdf here) lobbying for CWRU to receive the federal grant, noting that it would "help scientists explore new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat cancers."Over the past decade, CWRU and University Hospitals researchers and clinicians have been part of an academic team making headlines in colon cancer research with their genetic findings and, at the same time, raising Cleveland's profile.

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