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$2.3 million in NIH funding for promising cancer research at Cincinnati Children's
Date:4/15/2010

CINCINNATI Two scientific teams at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center are receiving a total of $2.3 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue promising studies seeking novel treatments for leukemia and bone marrow failure.

A team led by Yi Zheng, Ph.D., and James Mulloy, Ph.D., is getting a five-year grant totaling $1.04 million from NIH's National Cancer Institute entitled, "Targeting CDC42 in Leukemia Stem Cells." Qishen Pang, Ph.D., and colleagues are being awarded a five-year grant totaling $1.25 million from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute entitled, "Role of FA Protein Complexes in Hematopoiesis."

The scientists are all part of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute at Cincinnati Children's and its divisions of Experimental Hematology/Cancer Biology and Hematology/Oncology. Dr. Zheng is director of Experimental Hematology/Cancer Biology.

Research into CDC42 involves a protein that normally is crucial to cell adhesion, survival and migration. Scientists have learned that under certain conditions CDC42 stimulates development of disease initiating cells in bone marrow and leukemia stem cells, which they believe can fuel prolonged disease, relapse and mortality. The research team has been studying this process in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a complex blood cancer that often suffers from relapse after conventional chemotherapy treatment.

Ongoing studies of mice bred to model human leukemia including a novel mouse model of AML developed by Dr. Mulloy's laboratory and of human leukemia cells have shown blocking CDC42 inhibits formation of cells that initiate leukemia and promotes programmed cell death of leukemia cells. The goal of the newly funded research is to develop a new therapeutic strategy for targeting CDC42 to eliminate leukemia stem cells in bone marrow for leukemias that are resistant to conventional chemotherapies.

Dr. Pang's team is
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Contact: Nick Miller
nicholas.miller@cchmc.org
513-803-6035
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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