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Karmanos Prostate Cancer Researchers Receive Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation Grant

Elisabeth Heath, M.D., director of Prostate Cancer Research and associate professor in the Department of Oncology at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine, and her research colleagues have secured $10,000 in research funding through the 2011 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation’s McDevitt Excellence in Research Award for clinical research.
 
The winning research, “A phase 1 dose-escalation study of oral BR-DIM (BioResponse 3, 3”-Diindolylmethane) in castrate-resistant, non-metastatic prostate cancer” was recently published in the “American Journal of Translational Research.”
 
Fellow researchers include Lance K. Heilbrun, Ph.D., assistant director of the Biostatistics Core and professor in the Department of Oncology and Developmental Therapeutics at the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM); Jing Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of the Department of Oncology and Pharmacology and director of the Pharmacology Core at Karmanos and WSU SOM: Ulka Vaishampayan, M.D., Genitourinary Oncology Multidisciplinary Team leader and associate professor in the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and WSU SOM: Felicity Harper, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Oncology and Population Studies and Disparities Research at Karmanos and WSU SOM: Pamela Pemberton, BScN, RN, research assistant in the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and WSU SOM: and Fazlul Sarkar, Ph.D., professor of pathology at Karmanos and WSU SOM.
 
The award is unrestricted but must be used to conduct clinical or health policy research.
 
The dose-escalation, phase I study of BioResponse(BR)-DIM, administered to patients in capsule form, was conducted to determine the maximum-tolerated dose, toxicity profile and pharmacokinetics of BR-DIM, and to assess its effects on serum PSA and quality of life.
 
DIM is one of two major active compounds in cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, brussel sprouts and cauliflower. Several epidemiologic studies support the role of those cruciferous vegetables in lowering the incidence of prostate cancer.
 
“My colleagues and I realize the importance of understanding the role of nutritional compounds and how they affect prostate cancer. This funding will be extremely beneficial to support additional research into BR-DIM and prostate cancer,” said Dr. Heath. “We extend our sincere thanks to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation for its commitment in furthering clinical cancer research to develop better treatments and ultimately save lives.”
 
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation’s Frank J. McDevitt, D.O. Excellence in Research Awards for Health Services, Policy & Clinical Care recognizes research that contributes to improving heath and medical care in Michigan. The award was named in memory of Dr. McDevitt, who served on the foundation’s board of directors for 20 years and was board chairman for 10 years.
 
Caring for patients and improving the quality of health care was Dr. McDevitt’s life work and he assisted in providing access to health care for the uninsured and the under-served. He held many leadership positions within the osteopathic medical community, including president of the American Osteopathic Association; chairman of the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians; and president of the Wayne County Osteopathic Association and the Michigan Osteopathic College Foundation.
 
Dr. McDevitt passed away in 2004.
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