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August 14, 2008 Juhi Kunde
Ongoing Research in Prevention is Vital to Fight the Nation’s Second Leading Killer — Cancer
ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Prevent Cancer Foundation awarded its latest round of research grants and fellowships. The seven successful projects were selected from a pool of 79 applications nationwide. Each proposal passed rigorous examination by the Foundation’s Scientific Review Panel before being approved for funding.
“The Prevent Cancer Foundation is the first funding source for many new investigators. This allows for an influx of talented young investigators to engage in prevention research and generate the preliminary data to successfully compete for major federal grants. This is a wonderful investment in ensuring that vibrant new approaches to cancer prevention will continue to emerge,” says James Mulshine, M.D., co-chairman of the Foundation’s Scientific Review Panel, member of the Foundation’s board of directors and professor of internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
- Commercial HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines currently only target two of the 15 known HPV types that cause cancer and these vaccines are expensive – costing over $300 per patient. The Foundation is supporting Subhashini Jagu, Ph.D., at Johns Hopkins University, under the guidance of Richard Roden, Ph.D., to develop a more cost-effective vaccine that protects more broadly against HPV infection, and ultimately cervical cancer.
- Catching ovarian cancer early increases patient survival by 80-90 percent, but currently there is no reliable technique to detect ovarian cancer in its initial stages. The Foundation is funding Amish Barua, Ph.D., at Rush University to combine enhanced ultrasound with a serum marker to create a reliable and sensitive screening method for ovarian cancer.
- There is growing body of evidence to suggest that eating high levels of soy protein could reduce a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Maarten Bosland, D.V.Sc., Ph.D., at the University of Illinois at Chicago has been granted funding from Prevent Cancer to complete an ongoing Phase II clinical trial that studies the preventive effects of soy on the prostate. This study will seek to identify the critical links between eating soy and preventing prostate cancer.
- Individuals digest and absorb foods differently. Some researchers believe that people who efficiently convert glucosinolates, compounds from vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, into isothiocyanate compounds, might benefit more from theanticancer properties of these vegetables. The Foundation is funding Jed Fahey, Sc.D., at Johns Hopkins University to study the concept that a person’s diet and the bacteria in his or her gastrointestinal tract may determine how much of a prevention boost he or she can receive from consuming fruits and vegetables. This project could take the first step in correlating disease incidence with gastrointestinal metabolism.
- Identifying genes involved in breast cancer development is key to developing new medications that target the cancerous cells and to improving genetic screening guidelines. The Foundation is supporting Koji Itahana, Ph.D., at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to study the role of a protein, p32, in killing breast cancer cells and preventing tumor formation. This work could increase our understanding of breast cancer genetics and lay the groundwork for identifying a new gene to help physicians assess cancer risk in patients.
- Studies have suggested that certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking tobacco and eating charred meats, might increase a patient’s risk for breast cancer by introducing cancer-causing chemicals into the patient’s body. Prevent Cancer grant recipient, Lauren Trepanier, D.V.M., Ph.D., at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, has a theory to explain those findings. She will study two enzymes found at varying concentrations in breast tissue that may render these chemicals harmless. Trepanier will examine if women with low levels of these enzymes are at higher risk for breast cancer. These studies could improve patients’ understanding of their risk of breast cancer and may help patients make lifestyle choices.
- Studies suggest that the protein Nrf2, which regulates the body’s natural defenses, could be a key target for cancer prevention drugs. The Foundation supports Pak Kin Wong, Ph.D., at the University of Arizona in Tucson in his efforts to develop a rapid screening system for identifying new compounds that effect Nrf2 and the body’s natural cellular defenses. Understanding how these chemopreventive compounds work, could be a leap forward in the prevention of many types of cancer. Additionally, this study will provide valuable information about the regulation of important genes.
“These talented minds are our hope for a cancer-free future and I am delighted that our grants and fellowships will support them as they continue their life-saving work. It is because of them, and researchers like them, that we have come so far in cancer prevention,” saysCarolyn Aldigé, president and founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “And it will be because of them, and researchers like them, that we will reach our dreams.”
For 23 years, the Foundation’s peer-reviewed grants have been awarded to more than 300 early-career scientists from more than 150 of the leading academic medical centers nationwide. The Foundation’s vigorous grants and fellowships selection process is similar to the process used at the National Institutes of Health.
Research proposals are reviewed by members of the distinguished Scientific Review Panel, drawn from institutions such as the National Cancer Institute, Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer Center, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, Johns Hopkins Cancer Center, Rush University Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation Board of Directors approves funding twice a year for grants and fellowships to promising scientists who are doing remarkable work in fighting cancer. Researchers who are awarded grants and fellowships will receive $40,000 a year for two years.
For the current year, the next deadline for submitting proposals is September 15, 2008. Visitwww.preventcancer.org for details.
About Prevent Cancer Foundation
The Prevent Cancer Foundation (formerly the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation) was started in 1985. Today, it is one of the nation’s leading health organizations and has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence. Through healthy lifestyle choices, you can reduce your risk of breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, oral, prostate, skin and testicular cancers.
Since its inception the Foundation has provided more than $97 million in support of cancer prevention and early detection research, education and community outreach programs. The Foundation’s support of the research community has been pivotal in developing a body of knowledge that is the basis for important cancer prevention and early detection strategies. For more information, please visit www.preventcancer.org.