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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Awards $12 Million in Research Grants in Four Critical Areas of Unmet Medical Need

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) today announced the awarding of 20 grants representing a total investment of $12 million to tackle four areas of high unmet medical need in the blood cancers.

In response to requests for proposals from researchers in these four critical areas, LLS is awarding these grants under its Translational Research Program, an initiative designed to help accelerate the movement of promising discoveries from the lab to the clinic. Each grant is for a three-year duration with a total value of $600,000.

The RFPs mark LLS's aggressive and proactive approach to addressing the challenge of improving outcomes for cancer patients with particularly urgent needs.  LLS aims to stimulate more academic research in these areas: the malignant stem cells in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS); non-cutaneous T-cell malignancies; high-risk myeloma; and long-term and late effects of blood cancer therapies. The grants recipients are:

  • The leukemic stem cell in AML and MDS and the identification of potential targeted therapies:
    • Alan D'Andrea, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Targeting ID1 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Stem Cells
    • James Griffin, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Aberrant splicing in AML: novel molecular markers and therapeutic targets 
    • H. Leighton Grimes, Ph.D., Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati, RNA Therapeutics for Leukemia 
    • Monica Guzman, Ph.D., Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Strategies to eliminate leukemia stem cells during remission 
    • Duane Hassane, Ph.D., Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Significance and Mechanisms of Genomic Diversity in AML Stem Cells 
    • Anthony Letai, M.D., Ph.D.,  Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Personalizing AML therapy by BH3 profiling AML stem cells 
    • Ross Levine, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Targeting cytosine hydroxymethylation in AML stem cells 
    • A. Thomas Look, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Targeting of nuclear export in primary AML cells 
    • Li  Zhang, MSc, M.D., Ph.D, University Health Network,  Preventing AML relapse by targeting stem cells with double-negative T-cells 
  • Novel therapeutic strategies for non-cutaneous T-cell lymphoproliferative disorders:
    • Jaroslaw Maciejewski, M.D., Ph.D., Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Implications of STAT3 Mutations in Large Granular Lymphocyte Leukemia 
    • Owen O'Connor, M.D., Ph.D., Columbia University, Epigenetic Approaches to PTCL Therapy 
  • Development of therapeutic strategies for the high risk myeloma patient:
    • Jennifer Carew, Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Targeting SIRT1 in Multiple Myeloma 
    • Irene Ghobrial, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Targeting Hypoxic and Metabolic pathways in Multiple Myeloma 
    • Christoph Heuck, M.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Targeting DNA methylation in the diagnosis and therapy of high-risk myeloma 
    • Alexander Stewart, M.D., Mayo Clinic, Development of Novel Therapeutics Targeting High Risk Myeloma 
  • Mechanisms underlying long term and late effects resulting from cancer treatment and the development of measures to significantly reduce or prevent these toxicities
    • Smita Bhatia, M.D., M.P.H., City of Hope, Bone Marrow Transplant Survivor Study-2
    • Eric Chow, M.P.H., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Dexrazoxane and prevention of anthracycline-related cardiomyopathy 
    • Ruben Niesvizky, M.D., Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Stem cell alterations in lenalidomide treated myeloma patients 
    • Pavan Reddy, M.D., University of Michigan, Alpha 1-antitypsin as a novel strategy to modulate GVHD 
    • Daniela Salvemini, Ph.D, Saint Louis University, Blocking bortezomib induced painful peripheral neuropathy with FTY720 

LLS also announced the awarding of an additional 28 TRP grants, totaling $15.6 million, to scientists working in other areas of blood cancer research.

"By issuing RFP's LLS is taking a strategic approach to identifying and prioritizing areas of need and directing funding to research that shows the most promise for improving survival and quality of life for patients with these particularly difficult diseases," said Richard Winneker, Ph.D., LLS's SVP, Research.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

Contact:  Andrea Greif
              (914) 821-8958 

SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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