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Einstein researcher awarded prestigious cancer research grant

May 11, 2010 (BRONX, NY) Matthew Gamble, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular pharmacology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, has been awarded a $200,000 Kimmel Scholar Award. He is one of 15 U.S. scientists selected this year by the Kimmel Scholar program, created in 1997 to advance the careers of promising young scientists involved in cancer research. The $200,000 award will fund Dr. Gamble's innovative research for the next two years.

Dr. Gamble is exploring two families of proteins that interact abnormally in cancer, leading to increased cell division. The research could lead to more targeted drug treatments.

One protein family that Dr. Gamble is studying, called poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases, or PARPs, regulates DNA repair and gene expression, the process through which genes make proteins. Members of the other class of proteins all possess the same "macro domain" a stretch of amino acids that binds to poly(ADP-ribose), the molecule produced by PARPs. The interactions between these two families of proteins influence the ability of cancer cells to grow, but the mechanism is still unknown.

Drugs are now being developed that kill certain types of cancer cells (including breast and ovarian) by inhibiting PARPs, while leaving normal cells unscathed. However, scientists do not yet completely understand why these drugs are effective against some tumors but not others. Since levels of proteins with macro domains are often abnormally expressed in cancer cells, better understanding the interplay between macro domains and PARPs may allow doctors to test cancer patients' macro domain status to determine if they could benefit from taking a PARP inhibitor.

"This award will be crucial to learning how these proteins interact across the genome and how these interactions are disturbed in cancer," Dr. Gamble said.

The 33-year-old Dr. Gamble says that as a new principal investigator at Einstein, he has greatly benefited from his interactions with key faculty, including Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., and Charles Rubin, Ph.D., co-chairs of molecular pharmacology.

"Dr. Gamble's work in understanding the interaction between PARPs and macro domain proteins may lead to new treatments for cancer," said Dr. Horwitz. "He's an outstanding young scientist who is very collaborative, and we're fortunate to have recruited him."


Contact: Deirdre Branley
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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