"RNAi Global" Accelerate Biomedical Discovery Using Genome-Wide siRNA Screening

Harvard and Stanford Medical Schools and VUmc Join 12 International Research Centers and Dharmacon as Members of RNAi Global Initiative


The Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative (RNAi Global), an alliance of Dharmacon, Inc. and leading international research centers pioneering the use of whole-genome RNAi screening, today announced the addition of new members from Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School and the VU University Medical Center (VUmc) in the Netherlands. Members of RNAi Global are collaborating to advance the productivity of genome-wide RNAi screening-widely viewed as a fundamental breakthrough in discovery biology-by sharing information and developing common research standards.

"As the sponsor of the Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, we are gratified at the growing number of academic research centers who are joining RNAi Global and applying our human genome-wide siRNA library to address important biomedical research questions," said William S. Marshall, Ph.D., vice president of technology and business development for Fisher Biosciences. "The addition of these new members with international reputations for research excellence will help strengthen the collaborative efforts of RNAi Global members to standardize and accelerate whole-genome RNAi screening."

The VUmc Cancer Center Amsterdam (CCA) is the cancer expertise center of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The CCA aims to provide the best possible care and treatment to patients with cancer. To this end, the CCA integrates and strengthens all oncology expertise at the VUmc and promotes multidisciplinary approaches.

In June, 2006, the CCA opened its new research building, where most preclinical oncology research being conducted at the VUmc is clustered. To complement its core facilities for genomics and proteomics research, the CCA is establishing an RNA Interference Functional Oncogenomics Laboratory (RIFOL). This central facility for RNAi library screening at the VUmc has now become a member of the RNAi Global Initiative.

Dr. Victor van Beusechem, who will direct the RIFOL, said, "We expect that our participation in the RNAi Global Initiative will boost our research into the biology and treatment of cancer. We anticipate that the exciting new technology of genome-wide siRNA library screening will provide us with new directions to develop more effective anti-cancer treatments."

A second new member is Harvard Medical School (HMS). The HMS ICCB- Longwood High Throughput Screening Facility, which also assists researchers in carrying out small molecule screens, will make the siRNA libraries available to investigators from HMS and HMS-affiliate institutions.

"Investigators from the HMS community hope that genome-wide RNAi screening studies will help to identify new components of previously characterized biological processes and pathways and help to annotate the human and mouse genomes," said Dr. Caroline Shamu, director of the ICCB-Longwood facility. "We look forward to working with the RNAi Global community of researchers, a group that is sharing information in order to facilitate protocol development, data analysis and identification of off-target effects."

Another new member, the High-Throughput Bioscience Center (HTBC) at the Stanford University School of Medicine, was created in 2003 to accelerate the drug discovery process by providing academic researchers with the capabilities available in industry to run high-throughput chemical, DNA, siRNA and other high-content screens. The Center incorporates instrumentation databases, compound libraries and personnel experienced in these technologies.

"Consistent with our mission, we are combining high-throughput instrumentation with new technologies that allow scientists to survey the entire human genome and vast areas of chemical space, thereby empowering Stanford researchers to explore the frontiers of biology in entirely new ways," said David E. Solow-Cordero, Ph.D., associate director of HTBC. "Along with our acquisition of the Dharmacon siRNA whole genome library, we are pleased to join the Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, which will enable us to learn more about the best techniques for conducting genome-wide RNAi screening."

The members of RNAi Global encompass a broad spectrum of biomedical research interests and geographic locations. Membership is open to all not-for profit research institutions that are interested in an active, participatory role in identifying and setting biomedical research standards using the Dharmacon human genome-wide siRNA library for biomedical research. Members have already participated in two meetings aimed at developing standards for whole genome RNAi research, and the next meeting is planned for the fall. More information about the Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative is available at www.rnaiglobal.org.

The siARRAY® Human Genome siRNA Library from Dharmacon consists of SMARTpool® siRNA reagents or SMARTselectionTM designed siRNA reagents-targeting all unique human genes in the NCBI RefSeq database-conveniently arranged in 96-well plates for easy storage and rapid preparation. SMARTpool siRNA reagents provide significant benefits for genome-wide siRNA screens including reduced initial screening costs, simplified sample management as well as reduced false positive and false negative "hit" results. The Human siGENOME siRNA Library is designed to accelerate functional genomics research and to make siRNA SMARTselection technology accessible to all researchers for detailed analysis of gene families and metabolic pathways.

he Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative

The Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative is an alliance of leading international biomedical researchers, established to increase and accelerate the utility of human genome-wide siRNA libraries. RNAi Global provides a forum for member institutions to share research protocols, establish experimental standards and develop mechanisms for exchanging and comparing screening data. Membership is open to not-for-profit biomedical research institutions across North America, Europe and Asia. RNAi Global is being coordinated under the auspices of Dharmacon, Inc.

Its members include:

- The University of Cambridge scientists at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and MRC Cancer Cell Unit

- The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital and Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, both with The University of Toronto

- Cancer Research UK (CRUK) funded scientists at the London Research Institute and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)

- Fox Chase Cancer Center

- The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)

- Harvard Medical School

- UNMC Eppley Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

- Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI)

- The Scottish Centre for Genomic Technology and Informatics based at the University of Edinburgh Medical School (GTI)

- Stanford School of Medicine

- The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas

- VU University Medical Center (VUmc) and Yale University.

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