More than $3.5 Million in Department of Defense Funds to Support Work by Roswell Park Scientists

Grants from DOD medical-research division will enable research on prostate cancer, kidney cancer
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center faculty members have been awarded research grants from the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), an agency within the U.S. Department of Defense, to pursue important work involving prostate and kidney cancers. The projects address a range of investigative goals encompassing issues of treatment resistance, racial disparity, the hunt for new biological and genetic markers, and training programs to encourage young scientists to enter the field.

Research funded through USAMRMC is intended and expected to benefit and inform both military and civilian medical practice and knowledge. The recent grants, totaling more than $3.5 million, were awarded to the following Roswell Park faculty:

David Goodrich, PhD, Professor of Oncology, and James Mohler, MD, Associate Director, Senior Vice President for Translational Research and Chair of the Department of Urology, received a three-year, $1.19 million grant to evaluate the utility of a new biomarker, Thoc1, for predicting whether newly diagnosed prostate cancers will progress to life-threatening disease. Most men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer require no treatment, and their disease can be managed effectively by careful monitoring. However, a smaller fraction of men would benefit from immediate treatment because their prostate cancer is destined to progress to more advanced disease. “Currently we cannot predict accurately which patients should receive immediate treatment and which should simply be monitored,” explains Dr. Goodrich. “Successful completion of this project may identify Thoc1 as a biomarker that improves the accuracy of this prediction.”

Yue Wu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Department of Urology, and Li Tang, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, received a three-year, $764,100 grant to address the biological perspective of racial differences in prostate cancer between African-Americans and European Americans. The project aims to determine which genetic variations in androgen transporter genes are associated with higher prostate cancer aggressiveness and whether these variations differ between the two population groups.

Moray Campbell, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Dominic Smiraglia, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology, Department of Cancer Genetics, received a three-year, $636,370 grant to investigate how the most aggressive and lethal form of prostate cancer arises following anti-hormonal therapies, and to develop blood markers to predict the risk of this progression.

John Ebos, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Genitourinary Section, Department of Medicine, received a two-year, $602,966 career-development award for his study of antiangiogenic therapy resistance in kidney metastasis, looking to determine whether tumor and nontumor cell reactions to treatment coordinate to produce tumor rebounds when therapy is halted. This award includes a nested post-doctoral fellowship to Michalis Mastri, PhD. Roberto Pili, MD, will serve as career-development mentor.

Wendy Huss, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Richard Hershberger, PhD, MBA, Chief Academic Officer, received a three-year, $189,766 grant for a project that matches Howard University honors biology students with Roswell Park research faculty for mentoring in a comprehensive research experience on a topic related to prostate cancer. Minority men experience a disproportionate burden of prostate cancer compared to the rest of the population. Compounding this disparity, minority scientists are under-represented in the cancer sciences, and in prostate cancer research in particular. Immersion experience and mentored support is expected to encourage students from under-represented minority groups to enter graduate training programs and pursue careers in prostate cancer research.

Irwin Gelman, PhD, Professor of Oncology and John & Santa Palisano Chair in Cancer Genetics, received a one-year, $127,350 grant for an investigation that will use a genetic screening method to identify the genomic mechanisms that lead to resistance to the newest generation of drugs being used against advanced prostate cancer. Data from the project will directly impact how drug-resistant advanced prostate cancers can be therapeutically targeted.

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The mission of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, Roswell Park 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. The Institute 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 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email AskRoswell@Roswellpark.org. Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

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