November 10, 2006

Grant helps boost melanoma research

Featured Image

Members of the Melanoma Research team at Vanderbilt-Ingram include (front row, from left) Susan Knobel; Mark Kelley, M.D.; Ann Richmond, Ph.D.; Jeff Sosman, M.D.; Yingchun Yu; and (back row, from left) Igor Puzanov, M.D.; Yingjun Su, M.D., Ph.D.; Linda Horton; and Kathy Amiri, Ph.D.
Photo by Khristina Pince

Grant helps boost melanoma research

A team of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the V Foundation for Cancer Research to continue its study of the aggressive skin cancer melanoma.

The three-year grant will enable the team to keep searching for clues to how melanoma grows and spreads.

Jeff Sosman, M.D., director of the Melanoma Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram, and Ann Richmond, Ph.D., professor of Cancer Biology, are co-primary investigators of the study.

“One of the problems with current treatment approaches for cancer patients is that it is often not based on information about the patient's individual tumor,” Richmond said. “Our approach seeks to first examine the tumor biopsy for abnormalities of gene expression, and then test the effectiveness of drugs specifically targeting these genes by growing a small portion of the patient's tumor in a mouse and subsequently giving chemotherapy to the mouse. Based upon which drug the mouse responds to, we will then treat patients accordingly,” said Richmond.

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded by ESPN and Jim Valvano, the former North Carolina State University basketball coach and broadcaster who died of cancer in 1993.

“One of the goals of The V Foundation translational research program is to move projects from the laboratory to the clinic faster,” said V Foundation CEO Nick Valvano. “We are excited to fund these elite projects and look forward to keeping up with these talented scientists in the years to come.”

The Vanderbilt research team includes co-investigators Mark Kelley, M.D., Igor Puzanov, M.D., and Katayoun Amiri, Ph.D.

Other recipients of the translational grants include the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University, the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Duke University School of Medicine, the University of California, San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation — Lerner Research Institute.