2008 Fall Research Awardees

Matthew Carpenter, Ph.D.
Medical University of South Carolina

The tobacco industry has developed Potential Reduced Exposure Products (PREPs), which could possibly lower cancer risks. The Foundation is funding Matthew Carpenter, Ph.D., in his research examining one particular PREP to look at its effects on smoking behavior, overall tobacco exposure and motivation to quit. Ultimately, this study will guide smoking cessation programs and tobacco control efforts with the eventual aim to prevent and control cancer.

Yu Chen, Ph.D.
University of Maryland, College Park
Named Award: The Holden Family Fellowship in Breast Cancer

There is a critical need to develop better imaging technologies with high sensitivity and specificity to detect breast cancers for real time image guided biopsy. The Foundation is supporting Yu Chen, Ph.D., in his research to examine the combination of two promising tools for cancer prevention: optical imaging technologies and fluorescence molecular imaging. This research may potentially offer immediate information to clinicians and provide early detection of breast cancer.

Dallas Donohoe, Ph.D.
Scott Bultman, Ph.D. (Mentor)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Studies have shown that a high-fiber diet is correlated with reduced incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC), suggesting that dietary fiber may have preventive effects against cancer initiation. However, it is unknown how fiber protects against CRC. The Foundation is funding Dallas Donohoe, Ph.D., under the guidance of Scott Bultman, Ph.D., to research how a high- fiber diet prevents CRC, looking particularly at microbiota in the gut.

Ji Luo (Photo/Harvard Medical School)

Ji Luo, Ph.D.
Bringham and Women’s Hospital
Foundation Partnership Award: AACR Prevent Cancer Foundation AstraZeneca Fellowship in Translational Lung Cancer Research

Cancer cells rely on both normal healthy genes and mutated ones. Using a technique called RNA interference, Ji Luo and his fellow researchers will reduce the production of thousands of normal proteins to determine which are required for cancer cells to survive. The researchers hope that, by decreasing these protein levels, cancer cells will die, while normal cells survive. The findings could lead to a new therapeutic approach by exposing a hidden set of new drug targets.

Janne Nappi, Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital

Colon cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. for men and women combined, yet it is largely preventable with screening. One screening method is computed tomographic colonography (CTC), which is effective in the detection of large, obvious lesions of the colon. However, CTC can miss the more subtle types of growths that appear flat. Foundation funded researcher Janne Nappi, Ph.D., is looking at ways to improve the accuracy of CTC so that those hard to see flat growths will be detected automatically by radiologists.

Gregor Reid, Ph.D.
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Leukemia is the most common cancer in children. Genetic abnormalities that contribute to childhood leukemia occur during fetal development, but the disease itself doesn’t develop for months to years after. Blood samples taken at birth could help identify risk of developing leukemia providing a window for preventing the disease. The Foundation is supporting the research of Gregor Reid, Ph.D., who is testing whether treating the disease before onset can selectively eliminate leukemic cells, thus preventing the disease.

 

Karen Sfanos, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine

It is thought that chronic inflammation, perhaps due to the presence of infectious microorganisms, might contribute to prostate cancer development. The Foundation is supporting Karen Sfanos, M.D., under the guidance of Angelo De Marzo, M.D., Ph.D., in her research to identify “lesional” regions of microbial infections in the prostate and to correlate the lesions with prostate cancer incidence and/or inflammation. Identification of microorganisms in the prostate, and the correlation of microorganisms with inflammation of the prostate and/or prostate cancer will potentially have a major impact on prostate cancer prevention.

Chieu Tran, Ph.D.
Marquette University
Named Award: The Holden Family Fellowship in Breast Cancer

Mammography and MRI are widely used as screening tools for breast cancer, yet neither is a perfect system. A new imaging system that is less expensive and can rapidly and noninvasively detect breast cancer at an earlier stage with higher sensitivity, better spatial resolution and higher accuracy than currently available methods is needed. Thus, the Foundation is supporting Chieu Tran, Ph.D., whose research objective is to develop a novel and high performance instrument that can sensitively and accurately detect breast cancer cells at an earlier stage.