LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Five investigators at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center have funding to complete preliminary cancer research thanks to $11.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program. COBRE grants give talented young researchers the opportunity to produce initial data in new fields of study so that they may quickly seek individual federal research support, allowing the recruitment of new faculty with released COBRE funding.
"The community's investment in the James Graham Brown Cancer Center continues to pay dividends – economically, scientifically and clinically,” said U of L President James R. Ramsey. “Under Donald Miller's leadership the center has met every goal it has set for itself well ahead of schedule, making the program a perfect example of yet another Bucks for Brains success."
The initial COBRE-funded scientists and their projects follow:
- Dr. Jason Chesney, assistant professor of medicine, has discovered an enzyme that is over-produced by cancer cells. Plans to develop a drug to inhibit the growth of the enzyme are underway.
- Pawel Kozlowski, assistant professor of chemistry, is working to make bleomycins, a class of cancer drugs, more effective in their attack on certain tumor cells and less toxic to healthy tissue.
- Robert Mitchell, assistant professor of medicine and biochemistry, is developing a novel cancer drug to inhibit a key growth factor in malignant cells.
- Brian Wattenberg, associate professor of medicine, is studying the overproduction of the enzyme sphingosine-kinase in hope that increased understanding of the phenomena will lead to the development of new ways to control it.
- Hong Ye, assistant professor of medicine, is an expert in X-ray crystallography who will study cancer-related molecules in three dimensions to develop drugs that specifically target them.
"These are the very best young scientists in the country," said Dr. Donald M. Miller, director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. “Their success will be crucial to taking our center where we want to go.”
“National Cancer Institute designation for the Brown Cancer Center is much closer today,” added Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Joel Kaplan.