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Dana-Farber Researcher Named Millennium Pharmaceuticals Career Development Scholar of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Date:1/13/2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has awarded a $550,000 grant to Anthony Letai, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company of Cambridge, MA provided support to the LLS Career Development Scholar program, which will be used to fund a portion of the five-year research project.

The LLS Scholar in Clinical Research Career Development grant will support Dr. Letai's work on apoptosis, the normal process for eliminating old, unneeded or unhealthy cells. In cancer, this process often is disrupted. Dr. Letai's study, Detecting and Targeting Blocks in Apoptosis in Hematologic Malignancies, is designed to identify the molecules that allow cancer cells to proliferate by inhibiting apoptosis in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. His lab has been testing novel targeted therapies that attack these molecules and selectively kill cancer cells.

"I am absolutely delighted to be an LLS Scholar and I appreciate Millennium's support of this important scholarship program," said Dr. Letai. "This grant allows me to be a little more aggressive and take a few more risks that might not otherwise be possible."

LLS's Career Development Program funds talented investigators at different points in their careers: Fellows and Special Fellows during their post-doctoral training years; and Scholars and Scholars in Clinical Research early in their independent academic positions. The program recruits and supports young scientists in blood cancer research, helping populate the field with the best and brightest young researchers who are accomplishing cutting-edge research in established and new laboratories.

"Dr. Letai was selected for this grant because his lab has been applying state-of-the-art scientific techniques and sound scientific principles, and his work has shown great promise in leading to improved treatments for patients with leukemia and lymphoma," said Barton Kamen, M.D., Ph.D., LLS's chief medical officer.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society(R), headquartered in White Plains, NY, with 68 chapters in the United States and Canada, is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $600 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Last year alone, LLS made 6.3 million contacts with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

For more information about blood cancer, visit www.LLS.org or call the LLS Information Resource Center (IRC), a call center staffed by master's level social workers, nurses and health educators who provide information, support and resources to patients and their families and caregivers. IRC information specialists are available at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

    Contact: Andrea Greif
    (914) 821-8958
    andrea.greif@lls.org


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SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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