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GW’s Katzen Cancer Research Center Provides Grant Funding for Translational Cancer Research

WASHINGTON (April 23, 2013) — The Katzen Cancer Research Center at The George Washington University has awarded over $500,000 to GW researchers, with the intent to stimulate collaborative investigation into clinical and translational research, that will reduce mortality and improve the quality of life of Americans.

The grants, given under the moniker of “The Innovative Cancer Pilot Research Grants,” were awarded to six pairs of co-PIs, where one researcher does science within the labs at GW and the other conducts research at the GW Medical Faculty Associates. The awards are given to assist independent MFA/GW researchers in conducting initial pilot explorations. The hope is that the research will lead to published work in scholarly journals, the development of preliminary data, and application for greater funding from external sources.

“It’s rewarding to support researchers who are finding clues to why cancers present in patients and identifying cutting-edge therapies for treatment,” said Robert Siegel, M.D., director of the Katzen Cancer Research Center, Director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, and professor of Medicine.

Each of the grant applications was reviewed by a peer review committee from within GW. Funding for each grant was effective on April 1, 2013.

The researchers awarded include:

1.  Contrast Ultrasonography for Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis
Co-PIs: Kausik Sarkar, Ph.D., associate professor of engineering and applied science; and M. Reza Taheri, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiology

2.  Prognostic and Predictive Significance of ABCB1 expression in multiple myeloma (2nd Year Continuation)
Co-PIs: Robert Hawley, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department of anatomy and regenerative biology; and Imad Tabbara, M.D., professor of medicine, director, Blood & Bone Marrow Transplant Program, and director, fellowship training program

3.  Genomics of Colon Cancer Disparities to Identify Markers for Patient Screening and Treatment
Co-PIs: Samir Agarwal, M.D., assistant professor of surgery; and Norman Lee, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and physiology

4.  Cold Atmospheric Plasma in the Treatment of Malignant Glioma
Co-PIs: Jonathan Sherman, M.D., assistant professor of neurosurgery, director of surgical neuro-oncology, director of stereotactic radiosurgery; Michael Keidar, Ph.D., associate professor of engineering and applied science

5.  miRNAs as Potential Predictive Biomarkers for ADH Diagnosed by CNB
Co-PIs: Sidney Fu, M.D., Ph.D., research professor of medicine; Rachel Brem, M.D., vice chair of the department of radiology, professor of radiology, director, breast imaging and intervention center

6.  Molecular Markers of Liver Cancer in HCV-Infected Mouse Model
Co-PIs: Ajit Kumar, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine; Patricia Latham, M.D., professor of pathology

“It was difficult to select the best out of a field of 15 applications, but we feel these grants were the most innovative cancer research and have the greatest chance to advance research at the George Washington University,” said Leo Schargorodski, executive director of the Katzen Cancer Research Center.


About the Katzen Cancer Research Center
The Dr. Cyrus and Myrtle Katzen Cancer Research Center at The George Washington University was established in 2009 by a generous $10 million dollar charitable contribution from Dr. Cyrus Katzen and his wife, Myrtle. 

The goal of the Katzen Cancer Research Center is to attract outstanding scientists to contribute to the GW cancer research efforts.  With the dedication of the new, state-of-the-art clinical facilities, funded by the donation, the Center is poised to considerably expand its research efforts by adding scientists, clinicians and support staff dedicated to the detection and treatment of patients with cancer, blood disorders and bone marrow disease.  In addition, the Center staff members are dedicated to enhancing patient care by developing a comforting environment to facilitate the delivery of care to our patients and to include the ability to participate in new life-saving clinical trials.

The Katzen Center has enabled GW to offer new therapies to more patients, expand the nursing team to attend to the vast needs of their patients and offer patients a relaxing, healing atmosphere as they receive what can be exhausting treatment.  For medical students, the new expanded facilities have provided them with more opportunities to learn about personalized cancer medicine and targeted therapies and get hands-on experience learning about cutting-edge modalities for treating the various types of cancers.