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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 26, 2003

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Announces Seed Grant Recipients

Officials with Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa announced today that four researchers have received seed grants totaling more than $78,000 from the American Cancer Society.

Junior faculty members and independent research scientists receive these awards to help initiate their careers in cancer research and provide them with funds for the purpose of exploring new ideas related to the cause, prevention, and therapy of cancer.

Ken Dornfeld, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology, will explore how radiation might be combined with other treatments through the study of oxidative DNA damage.

Helen M. Sharp, Ph.D., assistant professor (clinical) of speech pathology and audiology in the UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, preventive & community dentistry in the UI College of Dentistry, and the Program in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, will study how disability impacts on quality of life after treatment for head and neck cancer.

Douglas K. Trask, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of otolaryngology, will study how production of a substance known as VEGF-C that stimulates growth of blood vessels might contribute to the abnormal behavior of head and neck cancer cells. Trask is also a staff physician at the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

M. Todd Washington, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry, will study how abnormalities in a protein known as DNA polymerase zeta, which is involved in duplication of DNA, might be involved in development of cancer.

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is Iowa's only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center. NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers 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.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

CONTACT(S): Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,