Research Efforts to Improve Cancer Treatment Receive National Funding

Collaboration with University at Buffalo nets patent application
Friday, February 14, 2014

BUFFALO, NY — Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center announces the receipt of research grant awards totaling more than $500,000 by several faculty members that will fund important investigations in cancer treatment research, including one unique drug-delivery method that resulted in filing for a patent.

The grant awarded to Ravindra K. Pandey, PhD, Director of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Distinguished Member of the Photodynamic Therapy Center within the Department of Cell Stress Biology at Roswell Park, is part of a four-year, $1.9 million project at the University at Buffalo (UB) funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Dr. Pandey is receiving first-year funding of $37,283 to collaborate with UB’s Jonathan Lovell, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, to develop a new way to deliver chemotherapy to pancreatic tumors. The drugs are encased in a balloon of light-sensitive nanoparticles and, upon reaching the tumor, are triggered for release when activated by light. A patent application for this delivery method has been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by UB and Roswell Park.

Other recent grant recipients are:

Li Shen, PhD, Affiliate Member of Roswell Park’s Department of Medicine, received a two-year, $381,807 award from the U.S. Department of Defense for a project that uses a novel vaccine approach to target kidney tumor cells as well as three types of immunosuppressive cells, which are major barriers to cancer immunotherapies. Effectively impairing the immunosuppressive cells can potentially lead to better immunotherapies for renal-cell carcinoma.

Sebastiano Battaglia, PhD, a Post-Doctoral Research Affiliate in the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, received a two-year, $123,842 grant from the Department of Defense for his investigation involving two proteins associated with prostate cancer: the androgen receptor and its corregulator, LSD1. After studying how the two proteins work together, he will target them pharmacologically in models to assess potential for future clinical trials.

Gissou Azabdaftari, MD, Chief of Genitourinary Pathology, received a two-year award of $18,306 for a project subcontracted from the University of Connecticut, part of a larger project award from the National Cancer Institute. Her investigation will examine the role of dietary antioxidant levels in predicting prostate cancer aggressiveness, and the extent to which it differs by race. Identifying the dietary effects on prostate cancer could help shape interventions to lower risk of fatal prostate cancer and reduce racial disparities in prognosis.


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, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

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Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager