Arizona Cancer Center researchers Thomas Miller, MD, and Daruka Mahadevan, MD, PhD, have been selected as the 2011 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. Miller and Mahadevan will receive their awards and present their latest research findings on May 9 at 2 p.m. in Kiewit Auditorium. The Salmon Awards recognize Arizona Cancer Center faculty members for their leadership in cancer research, grant support, publications, community service and clinical responsibilities.
Dr. Miller is a professor of medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and director of the AZCC’s Lymphoma Program. He has been the principal investigator for the Cancer Center’s Southwest Oncology Group Program for 25 years, and he is the co-principal investigator of the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Lymphoma, a partnership between the AZCC’s Lymphoma Research Consortium and the University of Rochester James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.
Dr. Miller’s research focuses include whether chemosensitizers reverse acquired drug resistance in patients with recurring lymphoma. His exploration of the significance of cellular proteins has led to specific change in patient treatment.
Under Dr. Miller’s direction, the Arizona Cancer Center’s Lymphoma Program has been an internationally recognized leader in the study of lymphomas and has been critical in advancing the standard of care for patients with lymphoma. The program coordinates the largest lymphoma tissue bank in the world, with more than 10,000 specimens.
Dr. Mahadevan is the director of the AZCC’s Phase I New Drug Development Program and is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Arizona. Dr. Mahadevan specializes in medical oncology and internal medicine and conducts Phase I first-in-human clinical trials with novel drugs as well as Phase II therapeutic trials in patients who have failed front line therapies.
Dr. Mahadevan’s major area of clinical research interest is in the treatment and management of patients with Pancreatic cancer, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST), Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) including Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).
Dr. Mahadevan has designed several drugs, including MP470 (amuvatinib), which targets c-Kit/PDGFR/c-Met tyrosine kinases that is undergoing Phase II clinical trial evaluation. Since receiving the prestigious Lymphoma SPORE grant from the National Cancer Institute in 2008 to evaluate drugs targeting Aurora Kinases in NHL, major strides have been made in treating both B- and T-cell NHL patients.
Other areas of translation research include identifying novel cell surface therapuetic targets in pancreatic cancer which has involved the design and humanization of a murine monoclonal antibody to CEACAM6 as a diagnostic-prognostic biomarker and a therapeutic target. Novel drugs and combinations targeting drug-resistant GIST are under development for future clinical trials.