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UAMS researchers receive cancer grants

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Press Release

UAMS Medical Center

UAMS Researchers Receive National Cancer Institute
Grants Totaling More Than $540,000

LITTLE ROCK — Two researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) have received research grants for pancreatic cancer and multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

Randy Haun, associate professor of pathology at the UAMS Arkansas Cancer Research Center (ACRC), was granted $293,048 from the National Cancer Institute for his project titled “Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer.”

“Currently, there are no reliable screening tests available for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer,” Haun said. “There is a desperate need for better methods of detection of this disease at an early, operable stage.”

Haun’s project will use state-of-the-art processes to identify proteins in serum that may be used for early detection of pancreatic cancer.

The project is in collaboration with Ralph Broadwater, M.D., associate professor of surgery, chief of surgical oncology and vice chairman of clinical affairs at UAMS; Cheryl Lichti, Ph.D., research assistant professor and co-director of the ACRC Proteomics Core Facility; Eric Siegel, biostatistics research associate in the UAMS College of Public Health; and Diane Simeone, M.D., surgical director of the Multidisciplinary Pancreatic Cancer Clinic and associate professor of surgery at the University of Michigan.

Joshua Epstein, professor of medicine in the UAMS Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, has received a grant of $255,050 from the National Cancer Institute to study osteoblasts and their mesenchymal progenitors in myeloma. The grant will fund the study of the relationship between myeloma tumor cells and the cells in bone marrow responsible for making new bone.

“Even when multiple myeloma patients are in complete remission, the damage that the disease causes to their bones is not repaired. In other forms of cancer, bone damage is repaired when the cancer is eliminated,” Epstein said. He will examine ways to use mesenchymal stem cells to repair bone damage as well as to control the spread of multiple myeloma.

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