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Arizona Cancer Center researchers Robert T. Dorr, PhD, RPh, and Mark D. “Marty” Pagel, PhD, have been selected as the 2010 recipients of the Sydney E. Salmon, MD, distinguished senior investigator award and distinguished junior investigator award, respectively.
The Salmon Awards are presented in memory of the Arizona Cancer Center’s founding director, Sydney E. Salmon, MD, whose birthday is May 8. Drs. Dorr and Pagel will receive their awards and present their latest research findings on May 7. The Salmon Awards recognize Arizona Cancer Center faculty members for their leadership in cancer research, grant support, publications, community service and clinical responsibilities.
Dr. Dorr is a professor in the pharmacology department at the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona where he has been a faculty member since 1978. He is co-director of the Arizona Cancer Center's Therapeutic Development program. He directs two National Institutes of Health-funded program project grants at the Arizona Cancer Center: on new agent development and therapeutics in pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Dorr is working on the development of new agents to treat refractory cancers including pancreatic cancer. The laboratory work is focused on small molecules that perturb redox systems inside the cell, leading the accumulation of reactive oxygen species and cell death. One of these agents, imexon, is currently in a randomized phase II trial in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Other studies have focused on developing agents that exploit genetic differences between normal and tumor cells, including agents that are selectively toxic to cancer cells that have deletions in tumor suppressor genes, such as the Deleted in Pancreas Cancer Locus 4, or DPC4 gene in the TGF-beta signaling pathway.
Dr. Pagel has been an associate professor in the departments of biomedical engineering and chemistry and biochemistry at UA since 2008. He directs the UA’s Contrast Agent Molecular Engineering Lab located at the Arizona Cancer Center and is a member of the Cancer Imaging program.
Dr. Pagel’s research involves developing new molecular imaging methods that will let oncologists predict which therapy will work best for each individual patient and monitor how a prescribed chemotherapy treatment is attacking a tumor in order to make quick changes to an individual patient’s drug protocol. These non-invasive imaging methods are designed to support personalized medicine for each individual cancer patient.