CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: Dec. 4, 2001
UI Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center investigators receive ACS seed grants
CITY, Iowa -- Four researchers with the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
at the University of Iowa have received American Cancer Society (ACS) "seed"
grants. The one-year awards were effective Dec. 1.
ACS seed grants are made to junior faculty members and independent research
scientists to help initiate their careers in cancer research and to provide
these promising young investigators with funds to explore new ideas related
to the causes, prevention and treatment of cancer. The Holden Comprehensive
Cancer Center is Iowa's only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive
Robert Cornell, Ph.D., UI assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology,
received $19,889 for his project, "Identifying the Genes that Regulate
Melanocyte Development through Analysis of Zebrafish Mutants Deficient in
Embryonic Melanocytes." This study will use zebrafish to explore the
normal developmental events that are disrupted in melanoma and other genetic
disorders of melanocytes, which are pigmented skin cells. "Using model
organisms to identify candidate genes for human disease has proven incredibly
powerful because regulatory genes are largely the same across the animal kingdom,"
Lucy Hynds Karnell, Ph.D., UI associate research scientist in otolaryngology
head and neck surgery, received $15,976 for research into "Patterns
and Risk Factors of Persistent Depressive Symptomatolgy in Patients with Head
and Neck Cancer." The study will examine the pattern of persistent, versus
short-term, depressive symptoms and associated risk factors to develop an
effective method for diagnosing and treating this psychiatric problem. "Patients
with head and neck cancer are quite vulnerable to depression, which can influence
how well they do physically and emotionally following treatment," Karnell
Yi Luo, M.D., Ph.D., UI associate research scientist in urology, received
$20,000 for investigating "Immunotherapy of Murine Bladder Cancer by
Phage Peptide Targeted Delivery of Th1 Cytokines (IL-2 and IL-12) and the
B7 Co-Stimulator." This project proposes to develop a new immunotherapy
for bladder cancer by creating biologicals that specifically target tumors,
Immunotherapy is an attempt to treat a disease by inducing a favorable response
from the body's natural immune system.
Stefan Strack, Ph.D., UI assistant professor of pharmacology, received $20,000
for a study on "Protein Phosphatase 2A Regulation of Ras-MAP Kinase Signaling."
This project addresses how cancer cells respond to (or ignore) signals that
regulate growth, Strack said. "Specifically, we will explore the role
of certain enzymes, called protein phosphatases, as guardians against unrestrained
growth," he added.
George Weiner, M.D., director of the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
and C.E. Block Professor of Cancer Research and Internal Medicine, said the
center was "extremely pleased to be able to support such a wide variety
of outstanding young cancer researchers."
"This year's awardees come from four different departments and are doing
work that extends from molecular causes of cancer through evaluation of the
psychosocial effects of cancer. They represent the depth and breath of cancer
research taking place at our cancer center," Weiner said.
The American Cancer Society (ACS), based in Atlanta, has state divisions
and more than 3,400 local offices. Visit ACS online at http://www.cancer.org/.
NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers like the Holden Comprehensive
Cancer Center at the UI are recognized as the leaders in developing new approaches
to cancer prevention and cancer care, conducting leading edge research and
educating the public about cancer. Visit the cancer center online at http://www.uihealthcare.com/depts/cancercenter.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient
care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit
UI Health Care online at http://www.uihealthcare.com/.