Pelotonia To Fund Additional Cancer Research At Ohio State

December 21, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Six teams of scientists at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) are each receiving two-year, $100,000 Pelotonia Research Awards to fund “high-risk, high-reward” research projects involving blood, breast, liver, prostate and skin cancers.

The grants are funded with a portion of the $8 million raised in 2010 during the second annual Pelotonia grassroots cycling tour to benefit cancer research at OSUCCC-James.

The grant recipients were selected in a highly competitive process from 50 applications across three categories, including Idea Awards, Team Science and Community Partnerships. The applications were scored and then ranked based on those scores, and the top projects were selected by senior leaders at OSUCCC – James for funding, said Dr. Peter Shields, deputy director of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“I was very impressed with the overall response to the Pelotonia Grant program, the new research ideas brought forward, the potential these ideas have and the collaborative nature of all of the projects,” said Shields.

“These Pelotonia research awards encourage our investigators to collaboratively think ‘outside the box’ in their quest to find new discoveries that can lead to breakthroughs in science, prevention, and treatments,” said Dr. Michael Caligiuri, director of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and chief executive officer of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. “Pelotonia provides critically needed seed funding for ideas that may one day lead to larger, federally funded grants.”

Below is a list of 2011 Pelotonia Research Awards recipients, along with a summary of the research objectives:

  • Patrick Green, Ph.D., and Dr. Robert Baiocchi: Develop a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of an aggressive adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) by studying a specific cellular protein along with testing a new class of drugs in a mouse model of human ATL.
  • TsonWin Hai, Ph.D., Dr. John Byrd and David Lucas, Ph.D.: Improve the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia by developing agents to modulate a specific gene pathway in both the organism carrying the cancer and the cancer cells themselves.
  • Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy, Sarmila Majumder, Ph.D., Xiaobai Li, Ph.D., Dr. Lisa Yee, Mike Ostrowski, Ph.D., and Gustavo Leone, Ph.D.: Explore ways to identify breast tumors that are not yet invasive but that have higher risk of developing into invasive cancer, and treat them by blocking a specific signaling pathway involved in the development of the breast.
  • Qianben Wang, Ph.D., and Victor Jin, Ph.D.: Develop novel therapies to treat hormone-independent prostate cancer by targeting specific gene signaling pathways.
  • Amanda Toland, Ph.D., Dr. Thomas Olencki, Dawn Allain and Dr. Ted Teknos.: Identify genomic changes that cause a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma to metastasize, in order to develop therapies to treat these aggressive tumors.
  • Jianhua Yu, Ph.D., Kalpana Ghoshal, Ph.D.: Develop novel therapeutics and preventive agents for liver cancer by targeting specific gene signaling pathways.

The final fundraising total – more than $13 million – from the third annual Pelotonia held earlier this year was announced during a check presentation celebration earlier this month.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program’s 210-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a “Top Hospital” as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

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