Projects focus on collaboration, translational methodology to drive impactful patient outcomes

MEMPHIS, TENN., February 15, 2017 – West Cancer Center announced today that it has awarded four intramural grants for cancer research. The awarded grants, each valued at $50,000, were among the almost 20 proposals received by West Cancer Center for its annual grant awarding process.

“At West Cancer Center, it is of paramount importance that we provide the necessary funding to support impactful cancer research, right here in Memphis,” said Ari VanderWalde, MD, Director of Clinical Research at West Cancer Center and Associate Vice Chancellor of Research, Clinical Trials, at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC). “This year’s awarded projects demonstrate a commitment to translating basic, scientific research into innovative patient care in the clinical setting. These projects – and researchers – are but a few examples of the drive for innovation that exists in our medical community, particularly in the field of oncology.”

With projects ranging from new therapies for treating ovarian cancer and radiotherapy technology to translating laboratory findings into more effective treatment protocol for aggressive cancer types, such as Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) and Glioblastoma (GBM), this year’s proposals represented the critical cross-section of oncology today: empowering technology, and science, to increase the understanding of the disease that affects one in two men and one in three women in the United States. West Cancer Center explores these funding opportunities that dually serve the needs of the Mid-South community and the research initiatives of the cancer center partnership. The Executive Council of West Cancer Center – comprised of leaders from the partnership institutions – reviewed the applications and selected this year’s recipients.

According to Lee S. Schwartzberg, MD, FACP, Executive Director of West Cancer Center and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at UTHSC, this year’s recipients embody not only the collaboration among the Mid-South’s leaders in cancer care and research, but also the critical role of the “physician scientist” in the current oncology landscape. “This year’s recipients represent the unique dichotomy of balancing laboratory science with clinical care; recognizing that the two are intimately connected and critical to advancing our understanding of this disease,” said Schwartzberg. “And while the projects focus on various cancer types and methodology, what they share in common is a commitment to improving patient outcomes. At West Cancer Center, that is what we are all about.”

This year’s recipients and projects include:

Matthew Ballo, MD, FACR and Enrique Izaguirre, PhD, DABR, Department of Radiation Oncology, UTHSC – Awarded $50,000 for their project titled “Novel 3D Printed Applicators for Advance Skin Cancer Brachytherapy.”

Gustavo A. Miranda-Carboni, PhD, Division of Hematology/Oncology, UTHSC – Awarded $50,000 for his research in the study of “Monoterpene Natural Products Against TNBC.”

Lawrence M. Pfeffer, PhD, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UTHSC – Awarded $50,000 for his research proposal titled “The Role of APELA in Glioblastoma.”

Junming Yue, PhD, Department of Pathology, UTHSC – Awarded $50,000 for his research testing MTF1 as a new drug target in treating ovarian cancer.