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Release: July 19, 1999

UI Cancer Center researchers use seed grants to further cancer studies

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Four University of Iowa Health Care researchers have received UI Cancer Center Seed Grant awards, designed to increase collaboration among members of the center's clinical and basic research programs.

Taking research from the bench to the bedside is the theme of the center's new approach to cancer study. This strategy aims at keeping communication lines open -- allowing clinicians and researchers to share information regarding new developments in cancer care and treatment.

The grant recipients include: Elizabeth Field, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine; Roger Gingrich, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine; Frederick Goldman, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics; David Lubaroff, Ph.D., professor of urology and microbiology; and Larry Oberley, Ph.D., professor of radiology.

Each grant recipient will receive $20,000 for use over 12 months. The UI Cancer Center Research Committee based its award decisions on the proposed projects' ability to enhance cross-disciplinary, translational research.

Field and Gingrich's project, "Induction of Immunogenic Dendritic Cells in Breast Cancer Patients," will focus on high-dose chemotherapy and using additional immunotherapy in patients with breast cancer.

Goldman's study, "Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease: Analysis of Potential Immunopathogenic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Strategies," will involve identifying cells that cause Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD), a complication following bone marrow transplantation in which transplanted (graft) cells recognize and destroy the patient's tissue (host) cells. Goldman plans to study how these cells function in the body and how they are being controlled. Goldman will also examine different drugs to determine which drug combinations may be the safest and most beneficial in treating GVHD.

Lubaroff's study, a Phase I trial of an adenovirus vaccine for prostate cancer, will involve determining a safe and effective dose of the vaccine for human use. Preliminary research with laboratory mice has been very promising. By administering an adenovirus, UI Cancer Center researchers have been able to generate an immune response that facilitates destruction of prostate cancer tumors in the mice.

Through his study, "Adenovirus MnSOD Plus BCNU in the Treatment of Lung Cancer," Oberley wants to develop a new therapy for lung cancer, an extremely difficult cancer to treat. The seed grant will allow Oberley to expand his study of an adenovirus in combination with a commonly used cancer drug to determine its ability to kill tumor cells. Oberley plans to enlist National Cancer Institute support to help produce a clinical-quality grade of the adenovirus, which, if funded, will allow him to enroll participants in a Phase I clinical trial.