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Science & Medicine

Purdue, IU Health Arnett cancer research seeking volunteers

Purdue and IU Health Arnett are partnering on a new cancer research project.

The initiative asks patients undergoing a colorectal cancer screening to voluntarily give samples, which would be used for research purposes.

Dr. Wael Harb, director of Cancer Services and Research at IU Health Arnett, says they will use the data collected to develop tools for helping improve prevention, treatment and care for those with cancer.

"It will help us understand, by analyzing this data, who might develop cancer. So, it might not help me as a volunteer in this study, but it might help my family, my community, a lot of people who might develop cancer in the future."

Harb says they hope to have 100 volunteers for the project within a year. So far, about a dozen people have volunteered.

Laurie Miller, patient research advocate at IU Health Arnett, is a cancer survivor, twice diagnosed with colon cancer. She says the tissue samples from volunteers are taken during the routine screening procedure.

"Outside of what they're already doing, with the blood draws and getting polyps and doing the colonoscopies, the only extra is another blood draw. After that, it's simple. Everything that the patient goes through, they were going to go through anyway."

Researchers hope to start analyzing the samples within a year. It could take another year to sort the information and find predictive patterns.