A grant of $49,900 from the Maine Cancer Foundation will allow Eastern Maine Medial Center and the Jackson Lab to find better ways to treat patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia– a cancer that attacks the blood. Jens Rueter, M.D. is the grant author, “The goal of this project overall is to give us the ability to identify subsets of patients who might benefit from these newer immunotherapies,” Rueter says.Typical treatments like chemotherapy can be too toxic for patients with CLL and other cancers.”Today we don’t have any good way of identifying those patients up front… so the idea is that we can develop individualized treatments for patients,” Rueter says.The Jackson Lab plays a key role in the research by analyzing data from healthy and cancerous blood samples.In the lab, blood samples are mixed with antibodies and then placed in a special machine where a lazar shines through each individual cell. That information is then loaded onto a computer and researchers can find patterns.This method is well established, EMMC and the Jackson Lab are applying an additional level of analysis on more cells. Joel Graber, Ph.D, with the Jackson Lab says, “by capturing more data from normal people we get a better picture of the variation so we can be more certain when a diagnosis is made that it’s the right diagnosis.” Doctors say the most exciting part of this research is that it is reproducable and the findings could be applied to other types of cancer.