Navigation Links
Einstein receives high-risk/high-reward cancer research funding

December 7, 2009 (BRONX, NY) Matthew Levy, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, has been awarded more than $700,000 by Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) for his high-risk/high-reward cancer research. Dr. Levy's work will focus on creating self-guiding drugs that target only cancer cells, thus eliminating or significantly reducing serious or unpleasant side effects of current therapies. Dr. Levy is one of 13 young scientists nationwide selected to receive a total of $9.68 million through SU2C's Innovative Research Grant program, which supports the next generation of cancer research leaders.

"The Stand Up To Cancer Innovative Research Grant program is giving us the chance to test out our ideas on how to make current drugs better," said Dr. Levy. "In the end, our hope is that this will translate to more effective treatments and an increased quality of life for patients."

SU2C's funding model for the Innovative Research Grants was designed specifically to support work that utilizes new ideas and new approaches to solve critical problems in cancer research. These innovative projects are characterized as "high-risk" because they challenge existing paradigms and because, in order to receive a grant, the applicants were not required to have already conducted a portion of the research resulting in an established base of evidence. Most conventional funding mechanisms require such evidence upfront. If successful, these projects have the potential for "high-reward" in terms of saving lives.

Dr. Levy's research will focus on creating a new type of targeted therapeutic agent to treat cancers. Current chemotherapies capable of killing rapidly dividing cancer cells also kill normal, healthy cells, leading to undesirable side effects. Thirty-seven-year-old Dr. Levy proposes to tackle this challenge by developing a new type of compound that can selectively identify, bind to, and destroy cancer cells. While the immediate focus will be on prostate cancer, the technologies developed will be broadly applicable to most other cancers.

Dr. Levy's efforts will center on aptamers, a newer class of targeting molecule that can specifically bind to particular proteins found on the surface of cancer cells. The aptamers will then be combined with existing FDA-approved drugs, creating a single molecule called an aptamer-prodrug. Upon binding to their target, these aptamer-prodrugs will release the drug cargo directly into the cell, thereby minimizing systemic toxicity.

Because cellular uptake is often linked to trafficking to lysosomes, a cellular compartment that contains digestive enzymes, Dr. Levy will also be collaborating with Ana Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in lysosome biology. Dr. Cuervo is professor of developmental & molecular biology, of anatomy & structural biology, and of medicine at Einstein.

Additionally, Dr. Levy will devise new methods to develop aptamer-prodrugs that can home in directly on tumor cells. If successful, these methods will allow the production of aptamer-prodrugs that could target almost any type of cell and cancer.

"The translation of Dr. Levy's expertise in aptamer technologies to the treatment of cancer builds upon his initial studies focused on prostate cancer," said I. David Goldman, M.D., director of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center and the Susan Resnick Fisher Professor in Brain Cancer Research. "This represents an exciting new avenue of research at Einstein directed to the development of therapies that specifically target cancer cells."

"This award to Dr. Levy is a highly appropriate honor for his novel research applying chemical biology approaches to cancer problems," said Vern Schramm, Ph.D., the Ruth Merns Chair in Biochemistry, who recruited Levy to join Einstein's faculty in 2007. "His research typifies the integration of new technologies across disciplines to have impact on fundamental chemistry principles as well as in human disease."

In receiving the SU2C grant, Dr. Levy joins 12 researchers from seven other institutions including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Children's Hospital Boston, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute.

Dr. Levy received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry in 1995 and his master's degree in chemistry in 1997, both from the University of California, San Diego. He was awarded his doctorate in molecular biology in 2003 from the University of Texas, where he also completed his postdoctoral training in 2007. Dr. Levy's research interests are in using biological, chemical and combinatorial approaches to understand fundamental biological interactions and designing novel diagnostics and therapeutics.


Contact: Deirdre Branley
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Related biology news :

1. Einstein to develop anti-HIV drug delivery system
2. Einstein scientists move closer to a safer anthrax vaccine
3. Einstein researchers devise a fast and sensitive way to detect ricin
4. NIH funds research center for womens reproductive health at Einstein
5. Einstein and Pitt researchers develop new TB test that will dramatically cut diagnosis time
6. Empire State Stem Cell Board awards $12.7 million to Albert Einstein College of Medicine
7. Einstein scientists receive $10 million NIH grant
8. Einstein researchers develop technique to count messages made by single genes
9. Einstein researchers develop a new way to study how breast cancer spreads
10. In scientific first, Einstein researchers correct decline in organ function associated with old age
11. Feinstein researchers develop new genetic method and identify novel genes for schizophrenia
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/9/2015)... 09, 2015 ... the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market ... --> ) has announced the ... Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their ... ( ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet Solutions ... the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to ... High Tech Association (MHTA) as one of only three ... the "Software – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards ... who have shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, ... the explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the ... book, The Internet of Healthy Things ... or smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected ... health care delivery, moving care from the hospital or ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Park Systems ... an add-on scanning ion conductance microscopy module to Park NX10 that is the ... , Park SICM benefits virtually all materials characterization that require measurements in liquid ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... SAN DIEGO , December 1, 2015 Dr. Harry Lander ... serving as Chief Science Officer and recruits ... Dr. Harry Lander , President of Regen, expands his role ... and recruits five distinguished scientists to ... of Regen, expands his role to include ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Global Stem Cells Group ... of a new closed system for isolating adipose-derived stem cells. The announcement starts a ... of adipose tissue. SVF is a component of the lipoaspirate obtained from liposuction of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015 Partnership includes an MPP ... for the u niversity , s ... treatment s cale - up through ... Africa , where licensees based anywhere in the world will have ... --> Africa , where licensees based anywhere in the world ...
Breaking Biology Technology: