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U-M Cancer Center names new research director

Moshe Talpaz will lead increased focus on 'translational' research

added 2/14/06

Ann Arbor - The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center has appointed Moshe Talpaz, M.D., as associate director for translational research. Talpaz, who joined the U-M team this month, will lead an effort to increase key translational research at the Cancer Center.

Translational research involves bringing laboratory discoveries into a clinical setting to benefit patients more quickly. This is becoming a major focus of cancer research nationally.

Talpaz comes to U-M from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he was a professor of medicine. His research interests include the study of leukemia and immunotherapy, which uses the immune system to fight cancer. He also treats patients with leukemia. Talpaz will continue his research, expanding the U-M Cancer Center’s efforts in hematologic cancer. He will serve as professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

“The rapid development of cancer basic, or laboratory, research provides us now with novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools that exploit information on the molecular abnormalities that drive cancer’s onset and progression. I look forward to this unique opportunity to tap into the extensive research at the University of Michigan and identify ways that we can bring this knowledge into the clinical research setting,” Talpaz says.

Talpaz received his medical degree from Hadassah Medical School at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He joined the faculty at M.D. Anderson in 1981 and held several leadership positions. He has published nearly 400 peer-reviewed research papers in journals such as Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Under Talpaz's supervision, the Cancer Center will expand its translational research efforts, adding a more extensive Phase I trial unit. Phase I trials are early-stage tests in small numbers of people often aimed at determining whether a therapy can be given safely. Translational research, or bench-to-bedside research, integrates laboratory experiments with clinical trials, returning therapies to the lab for further improvements and refinements before advancing to the next clinical trial.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Talpaz to the University of Michigan. The development of an expanded Phase I therapeutic program is a top priority for the Cancer Center. The process of translational research is the cornerstone of all cancer care here and means U-M patients have access to the highest quality treatment, often before it is available elsewhere. This Phase I program will focus on the testing of targeted molecular therapeutics, which represent a promising approach to cancer treatment,” says Max Wicha, M.D., director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center and distinguished professor of oncology.

The U-M Cancer Center has more than 200 cancer clinicians and researchers working together in multidisciplinary teams to rapidly bring new prevention, detection and treatment discoveries to patients in its cancer care clinics.

Written by Nicole Fawcett

 

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