Public Release: 

American Cancer Society awards research grants to 109 investigators at 77 institutions nationwide

Grants focus on promising beginning investigators

American Cancer Society

ATLANTA--October 04, 2007 - The American Cancer Society, the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, has awarded 109 national research and training grants totaling more than $52.6 million in the first of two grant cycles for 2008. Of the grants, 91 are new and 18 are renewals of previous grants. All of the grants go into effect January 1, 2008.

The American Cancer Society's Research and Training Program has funded 40 Nobel Prize laureates since its inception in 1946, during which time it has invested about $3.1 billion in cancer research, much of that focusing on the work of promising new investigators. The Society currently funds 938 multi-year grants totaling over $457 million. Among the newly awarded grants approved for funding:

  • Katherine Crew, MD of Columbia University in New York, N.Y. is examining the role of green tea extracts to possibly lower the risk of ER-negative breast cancer, a form of breast cancer which is often found in younger women and associated with a poorer prognosis.

  • Prasad Jallepalli, MD, PhD of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. N.Y. is investigating a new function for the protein, Polo kinase, which is higly overexpressed in many cancers and can "turn on" major cell division pathways at exactly the right time and right place.

  • Nomeli Nunez, PhD of the University of Texas, Austin is working on understanding the relationship in post-menopausal women between obesity and an increase in breast cancer.

  • Adam Marcus, PhD of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. is studying how non-small cell lung cancer takes on aggressive metastatic characteristics and how a particular tumor suppressor, named LKB1, plays a role when it triggers the front part of a cell to become indistinguishable from the end.

  • Sara Higgins, PhD of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y. focuses on psychological distress that may impact factors in the blood to increase the risk of blood clot formation in women with ovarian cancer.

  • Rebecca Page, PhD of Brown University in Providence, R.I. is investigating the three-dimensional structure of an important protein called hematopoetic protein tyrosine phosphatase (HePTP) which if it malfunctions, can more easily lead to leukemia .

  • Christopher Umbricht, MD, PhD of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. is identifying molecular patterns of gene expression in cancerous thyroid nodules to be compared to that of noncancerous thyroid nodules.

  • William Hawkins, MD of Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. is studying a novel, peptide inhibitor that targets two apoptotic pathways causing programmed cell death.

  • David Buckley, MD of Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, Ore. is examining the relationship between disability status and receipt of cancer screening and preventive services in community-based primary care settings with specific regard to tobacco use among adults with disabilities living in rural areas.

Grant applications are ranked on the basis of merit by one of several discipline-specific Peer Review Committees, each of which comprises 10 to 25 scientific advisors or peers who are experts in their fields. The Council for Extramural Grants, a committee of senior scientists, recommends funding based on the relative merit of the applications, the amount of available funds, and the Society's objectives. No member of the American Cancer Society's Board of Directors or National Assembly may serve on a Peer Review Committee or as a voting member on the Council for Extramural Grants.

The Council for Extramural Grants also approved 87 research grant applications that could not be funded due to budgetary constraints. The so-called "pay-if" grants represent work that pass the Society's multi-disciplinary review process, but go beyond the Society's current funding resources.

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The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

To read more about the Society's research programs, visit: http://www.cancer.org/research

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