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Two U-M doctors awarded grants from Melanoma Research Alliance-added 06/15/09
Ann Arbor - Two doctors at the University of Michigan were awarded research grants to address the gap in translational science in the study of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Sanjeev Kumar (Shangary), Ph.D., was awarded $100,000 over two years for his research, titled, "Combining an MDM2 inhibitor with chemotherapy for the treatment of melanoma." Kumar was one of three Young Investigator Award recipients. All of the Young Investigators' work has the potential to transform melanoma treatment.
Kumar's research combines traditional chemotherapy with a U-M-designed small molecule called MI-219, to activate the p53 tumor suppressor pathway by neutralizing two critical p53 inhibitors, the MDM2 and MDMX proteins.
"Since approximately 90% of melanoma cases have a normal type of p53 protein, this strategy has great potential for the treatment of a majority of melanomas," Kumar said.
In addition, Nallasivam Palanisamy, Ph.D., earned the Melanoma Research Alliance's Development Award, a one-year grant of $50,000, for his proposal, "Transcriptome sequencing to detect gene fusions in melanoma."
Palanisamy was chosen by the MRA as the researcher whose work shows great promise for advancing the understanding and treatment of melanoma.
Melanoma is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S., and the most aggressive of the three forms of skin cancer. It can occur anywhere on the body. This year, 68,720 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma and 8,650 will die from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute.
For more information on the MRA and the research grants, visit http://www.melanomaresearchalliance.org/mra_research/2009/.
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