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Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards $3.6 M to 9 top young clinical investigators
Date:7/1/2013

eatments for lung cancer to date are the targeted drugs erlotinib and crizotinib. These drugs block tumor growth in cancers that respectively harbor either mutations in EGFR or translocations in the ALK gene. Unfortunately, only a minor fraction of patients' tumors have EGFR mutations or ALK translocations; therefore, the vast majority of patients lack an effective targeted therapy.

Dr. Nijhawan aims to identify novel targets in lung cancer so that similarly effective therapy can be developed for other patients. He has identified a set of chemicals called benzothiazoles that are effective in blocking the growth of 25% of lung cancer cell types tested. The protein target of the benzothiazole and the genetic alterations that predict sensitivity are unknown. His research focuses on identifying both the benzothiazole protein target as well as predictive biomarkers that explain why only certain lung cancers are susceptible to its effect. The identification of these biomarkers in lung cancer patients may highlight a set of patients who could be treated with benzothiazole-related compounds.

Dr. Nijhawan works under the mentorship of Steve L. McKnight, PhD, and David Johnson, MD, at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.

Cameron J. Turtle, MD, PhD

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) is a potentially curative procedure for patients with hematologic malignancies who are otherwise incurable with conventional therapies. Despite advances in post-transplant care, the morbidity and mortality of complications such as graft versus host disease (GVHD) and infections remain significant limitations, and hinder the application of this life-saving procedure. Infection and GVHD are influenced by the immune system, which in turn is regulated by the bacterial contents of the human gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Turtle will test the hypotheses that alterations in the bacterial composition of the human gastrointestinal tract
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Contact: Yung S. Lie
yung.lie@damonrunyon.org
212-455-0521
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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