Two Karmanos cancer researchers secure grants through National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Izabela Podgorski, Ph.D.
Melissa Runge-Morris, M.D.
Izabela Podgorski, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM), has received a $1,570,526 grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute for her research, “Functional Role of Bone Marrow Adipocytes in Metastatic Prostate Cancer.” Her grant expires Dec. 31, 2018.
Her co-investigators include James Granneman, Ph.D., of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and Pathology at WSU SOM; Elisabeth Heath, M.D., of the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and WSU SOM; Daniel Bonfil, Ph.D. and Krishna Rao Maddipatti, Ph.D., both from the Department of Pathology at WSU SOM: Biostatistician Judith Abrams, Ph.D., of the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and WSU SOM; and Michael Cher, M.D., chief of Urology as well as a member of the Pathology Department at Karmanos and WSU SOM.
Dr. Podgorski’s research strives to understand the mechanism behind why older men with prostate cancer who are also obese or overweight are three times more likely to develop metastatic disease compared to normal weight men undergoing the same treatment regimen. Her project will use a variety of biomedical samples and techniques to uncover the functional role of bone marrow fat cells in prostate cancer progression in the skeleton, with the goal of unraveling novel candidate therapeutic targets to provide improvements in patient outcomes.
Melissa Runge-Morris, M.D., professor in the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and director of the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (IEHS) at WSU SOM, has won a $1,970,134 grant from the National Institutes of Health for her project, “Expression, Regulation and Function of the SULT1C Carcinogen-Activating Enzymes.” Her grant expires October 31, 2018.
Her fellow co-principal investigator is Thomas A. Kocarek, Ph.D., associate professor with the IEHS, with a tenure retreat position in the Department of Pharmacology at WSU SOM. Other participating universities include the University of Alabama and the University of Pittsburgh.
This project’s long-term goal is to understand how differences in gene expressions during the stages of early human development might impact drug efficacy and safety, as well as susceptibility to environmental carcinogens and modulators of the metabolic processes. The short-term goals are to determine the expression pattern and regulators of gene expression and to elucidate the substrates and inhibitors of the genes’ metabolism. Understanding these gene expressions, along with their regulation and function, is critical since these genes likely play important physiological roles during human development and because of their ability to promote disease susceptibility at specific times.
Dr. Podgorski’s grant number is 1R01CA181189-01. Dr. Runge-Morris’ grant number is 1R01ES022606-01A1.
We congratulate Drs. Podgorski and Runge-Morris on securing their respective grants!