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Karmanos Cancer Institute Immunology Researcher Obtains Nearly $1 Million National Institutes of Health Grant
Date:10/20/2009

DETROIT, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Venuprasad K. Poojary, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine, has secured a two-year federal grant for almost $1 million to further his research into creating more effective immunotherapy strategies for cancer treatment. Dr. Poojary's grant brings the total number of federal stimulus grant dollars received by Karmanos researchers to approximately $8 million this year.

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Among the more than 20,000 applications the National Institutes of Health received for the NIH Challenge Grants, Dr. Poojary's application ranked within the top 1 percent. He received a grant for $999,094. The NIH has allocated $200 million for the challenge grants for fiscal years 2009 and 2010. They are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passed in February of this year.

Dr. Poojary's research is titled, "Role of TIEG1 in Foxp3+Treg development and tumor progression," and explores tumor pathways that cause effector T cells, those that help maintain a healthy immune system, to be converted to regulator T cells, which allow the growth of cancerous tumor cells.

Researchers have already created vaccines that are effective in controlling regulator T cells in the lab environment, but so far immunotherapy vaccines have not been successful when used on humans.

"Immunotherapy for cancer has not been successful because tumors exploit the immune system," Dr. Poojary said. "We must now build on immunotherapy's great cancer treatment potential by learning how we can make it more effective."

Dr. Poojary's research strives to understand on a molecular level how immune suppressor cells can be controlled so that tumor cells do not proliferate. He believes this
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SOURCE Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
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