Grants

OSUCCC – James Earns NCI Phase II Contract Renewal

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded the OSUCCC – James a phase II clinical trials contract that could be worth more than $8 million over five years if fulfilled to capacity. Principal investigator Miguel Villalona, MD, says the money, a renewal of a similar $3 million contract the NCI awarded to Ohio State in 2006, will enable the OSUCCC – James to conduct phase II clinical trials on NCI-sponsored agents as the lead institution in a consortium that includes Case Western Reserve Comprehensive Cancer Center/Cleveland Clinic, Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute as collaborators. These trials will help scientists evaluate biologic effects of experimental anticancer agents and determine clinically relevant outcomes/correlates of drug efficacy and toxicity. The OSUCCC – James and collaborators constitute one of only seven consortia holding NCI phase II contracts.

NCI Grant Aids Study of microRNAs in CML

Danilo Perrotti, MD, PhD, of the Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Program at the OSUCCC – James, is principal investigator for a five-year, $1.52 million grant from the National Cancer Institute for studying the “Role of microRNAs in the Regulation of CML Stem Cell Survival and Self-Renewal.” Perrotti says chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is the first clinically cured stem cell-derived hematopoietic neoplasm, but he notes that tyrosine inhibitor therapy leaves behind a pool of CML stem cells that are resistant to these drugs. Thus, only drugs that can safely target these stem cells without harming normal ones have potential for disease eradication. He suggests that CML stem cell survival and renewal may depend on altered expression of certain microRNAs. With this grant, his team will examine the mechanism of altered microRNA expression for maintaining CML stem cells in hopes of finding therapeutic targets.

NCI Funds Ohio State Breast Cancer Intervention Training

Barbara Andersen, PhD, a professor of Psychology and researcher in the Cancer Control Program at the OSUCCC – James, received a $1.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to train mental healthcare professionals in a bio-behavioral intervention that helps cancer patients cope with stresses of diagnosis and treatment. Andersen and collaborators developed the intervention, which culminates more than a decade of research evaluating the benefits of psychological counseling and support for cancer survivors. She published studies in 2008, ’09 and ’10 showing benefits of this particular intervention, including a reduced risk for cancer recurrence. Andersen wants to disseminate the intervention “to increase the pool of mental healthcare providers who understand the needs of cancer patients and adopt evidence-based psychological treatments to help them.”

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