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Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. & Helen C. Kleberg Center for Molecular Markers


Director: Gordon B. Mills, M.D., Ph.D.

Research news releases:
Genetic Variations Raise Lung Cancer Risk for Smokers and Ex-Smokers
Statins and Cancer Prevention
MD Anderson Leads with Cancer Genome Pilot Projects

Early diagnosis and personalized treatment. The overall research objective of the center will be to identify the molecular markers that will allow a cancer specialist to diagnose cancer early and predict response to a particular treatment. The plan is to eventually be able to create a personalized treatment for each individual patient.

Analysis of the DNA, RNA, and proteins of tumors. A major focus of the research will be to characterize the molecular changes in cancer patients’ tumors by analyzing DNA, RNA and proteins in the tumors and also in the blood. Molecular markers will help identify those at risk for cancer and provide information for screening and prevention measures. Doctors will also use the markers to select the best treatment with the fewest side effects for each patient.

Applications for all cancers. “What we learn about molecular markers in lung cancer may be translated to breast cancer. This program is not disease-site specific. In fact, we believe the research can impact a variety of cancers,” says Gordon B. Mills, M.D., Ph.D., director of the program.

What's already happening. A research team led by Dr. Mills found a potential new protein marker of the prognosis of breast and ovarian cancers. Tumor cells with an abundance of the protein Rab25, the researchers found, are more aggressive and associated with poorer outcome. Thus, Rab25 could become a target for cancer treatment.

How to Help Innovative Research - The institute's interconnected programs offer you a chance to help at an historic moment in the long search for answers to cancer. For more information, you may send a request to

© 2013 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center