Wilmot Cancer Center Awarded $2.2M for Research

July 20, 2005

Researchers at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center received more than $2.2 million in funding to study new therapies to treat leukemia and lymphoma, and ways to reduce nausea during chemotherapy.

Scientist Craig Jordan, Ph.D., was awarded $600,000 by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to advance the study of a plant derivative to combat leukemia.  Jordan and his team of researchers discovered that parthenolide, a component in the common wildflower feverfew, destroys leukemia stem cells. Their translational research focuses on modifying parthenolide to create a water-soluble form of the molecule for clinical trials in the next 12-18 months.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society also awarded $600,000 to hematologist Steven Bernstein, M.D., to lead laboratory studies of promising new agents that target lymphoma cells differently than current therapies. This research, which Bernstein is conducting with scientist Rick Phipps, Ph.D., professor of Environmental Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, Oncology and Pediatrics, focuses on diffuse large B cell lymphoma, which is diagnosed in about a third of all lymphoma cases. 

Currently, about half of all people with lymphoma are cured by standard chemotherapy.  This research could offer a much-needed alternative for the others.

Jane Liesveld, M.D., clinical director of the Wilmot blood and marrow transplant program, received $554,000 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome, a condition that often leads to leukemia in older adults. She will work with Jordan and John Bennett, M.D., an international expert on MDS, to study the use of a proteasome inhibitor called Velcade, which is highly effective in treating multiple myeloma, in combating MDS. 

The NCI also awarded $502,000 to Joseph Roscoe, Ph.D., research assistant professor, to study the role of patients’ expectations on the development and control of nausea during chemotherapy for breast cancer.  He study will involve the use of acupressure wristbands and relaxation audiotapes to quell the queasiness that often accompanies the treatment. The study will begin this fall at Wilmot Cancer Center and is expected to last three years.

The Wilmot Cancer Center is the leader in cancer care and research in Upstate New York.

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Leslie White
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