Cancer researchers receive funding

Cancer researchers receive funding

University of Arizona Cancer Center researchers are working on a variety of cancer project thanks to funding from the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant program at the UA Cancer Center, led by Joyce Schroeder, PhD, supports the development of new investigators to conduct independent cancer research. The ACS-IRG has been competitively renewed at the UA Cancer Center for the past 35 years, and awardees have gone on to garner nearly $10 million in external grant funding in just the last five years to further their research efforts.

A review committee of UA faculty chooses the grant recipients. In 2012, four junior investigators will share $110,000, funding investigations in the topics of breast, skin and pancreatic cancer, including studies of basic mechanism and clinical trials. The researchers and their projects are:

Laukaitis_web.jpgChristina Laukaitis, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine. “What is the prevalence of mutations in DNA-repair genes in Hispanic women with breast cancer?”

Dr. Laukaitis will study the contribution of genetics to breast cancer risk in Latinas from southern Arizona and northern Mexico by looking for mutations in breast cancer-influencing genes in women enrolled in the ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study.

Ong.jpgEvan Ong, MD, MS, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery. “Pancreatic Cancer Progression: Role of the PTEN/Sphingosine Kinase/Sphingosine 1-phosphate Receptor Axis”

The project will investigate the role of PTEN and Sphingosine Kinase in the development of pancreatic cancer. The Ong group hypothesizes that up-regulation of the sphingosine-1-phosphate signaling pathway is a critical event in pancreatic cancer progression.

Ian Robey Headshot Color.jpgIan Robey, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine. “Chronic Oral Bicarbonate Feasibility Study”

This trial will determine the safety and feasibility of long term sodium bicarbonate consumption as a potential supportive care treatment in breast cancer.

Dickinson.JPGSally Dickinson, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology. “Chemoprevention of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Using the AP-1 Inhibitor 1-Isothiocyanato-7-(methylsulfinyl)-heptane”

This project tests the ability of 1-Isothiocyanato-7-(methylsulfinyl)-heptane (Iso-7), a compound naturally found in watercress, to block skin cancer caused by solar-simulated light (SSL) exposure. The Dickinson lab will examine whether Iso-7 affects markers of cancer growth in treated skin and determine whether Iso-7 may be a useful compound to explore for development as a topical agent for skin cancer prevention.

July 31, 2012