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Roswell Park researchers receive almost $7 million in grant support for cancer research efforts

by jmaloni

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Wed, Nov 6th 2013 11:55 am

Roswell Park Cancer Institute is proud to announce several faculty members have collectively received more than $6.7 million in grant funding from federal agencies and other sources. These awards help fund important research that aims to develop new approaches to prevent and treat cancer and to improve RPCI patients' quality of life. Of those, Kelvin P. Lee, M.D., chair of the department of immunology, received three grants totaling more than $3.9 million.

Two grants are from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. They will help fund Lee's work in immunology. One is a four-year award for $2.02 million that will aid exploration of how immune responses occur and what molecular pathways are involved. These immune responses are similar to those seen after a vaccination, and these studies may lead to ways to heighten vaccine effectiveness. The other NIAID grant is a two-year award of $377,643 to help Lee study new treatments for very severe allergic reactions to peanuts. In this work, Lee will be a co-investigator with Manel Jordana, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology and molecular medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. 

The third grant is a five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute for $1.56 million to learn what specific molecular pathways are essential for multiple myeloma cancer cells to survive. Lee's research focuses on a specific receptor, called CD28. 

Additional grant recipients include:

Steven C. Pruitt, Ph.D., associate member in the department of molecular and cellular biology, received a five-year, $1.62 million grant award from the NCI. The grant will support Pruitt's studies on DNA replication processes and how failures in these processes contribute to genetic damage resulting in cancer.

Ravindra K. Pandey, Ph.D., professor and distinguished member of cell stress biology, and colleagues received a three-year grant of $668,598 from the NIH for the NIH STTR Phase I/II study investigating the toxicity of a near infrared photosensitizer. These funds are part of a larger grant totaling $1.5 million that was received by Photolitec LLC, a spinoff company of Roswell Park. Pandey is the founder and CSO of this life-sciences company.

Joseph Skitzki, M.D., FACS, assistant professor in the department of surgical oncology and associate member in the department of immunology, received a two-year, $150,000 American Surgical Association Foundation Fellowship. This grant will support Skitzki's study of an old anti-malarial drug called quinacrine, which has recently been noted to have anti-cancer properties and appears to be a possible treatment for melanoma when delivered in surgical procedures.

•Maryann Mikucki, M.D./Ph.D., a trainee in the lab of Sharon Evans, Ph.D., in the department of immunology, received a three-year, $117,992 pre-doctoral grant award from the NCI. The project will focus on novel mechanisms by which melanoma cells evade T cell-mediated eradication by the immune system. The research aims to provide insights into new strategies to improve melanoma patient responses to cancer immunotherapies.

Marina P. Antoch, Ph.D., associate member in the department of molecular and cell biology, and Andrei V. Gudkov, Ph.D., D.Sci., senior vice president of basic science and chair of cell stress biology, received a two-year, $100,000 grant award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. This grant is a supplement to a currently funded R01 grant that is furthering study of gender-related differences in immune response.

Kenneth W. Gross, Ph.D., chairman in the department of molecular and cellular biology, received a two-year grant of $50,780 from the NCI to study genes that drive primary and metastatic pancreatic cell tumors. This award is a diversity supplement to the multi-PI R21 grant, (Epi)Genomic drivers of primary and metastatic pancreatic islet cell carcinoma, which includes Norma J. Nowak, Ph.D., and Dominic J. Smiraglia, Ph.D.

Eunice Wang, M.D., associate professor in the department of medicine and assistant member of the tumor immunology program, is among 11 physicians across the country to receive a two-year, up-to-$50,000 Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award from the NCI. This award recognizes exceptional clinical investigators for their contributions to the advancement of clinical research through collaborative team science.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in upstate New York. RPCI is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation's leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI or email [email protected]. Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

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