The University Record, October 16, 1995

Cancer Center awarded $5.7 million grant by NCI

By Bruce Weintraub
Medical Center Public Relations

 The Comprehensive Cancer Center has been awarded a $5.7 million grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat prostate cancer.

Kenneth J. Pienta, principal investigator of the grant and director of urologic oncology at the center, says the three-year grant is an important resource---in terms of both research and patient care---for the state. He adds that the grant will allow physicians and scientists to rapidly move scientific findings from laboratories into clinics.

According to Pienta, researchers will focus their efforts on:

 Identifying the genes that cause prostate cancer and developing improved diagnostic tools and prognostic markers.

 Developing new ultrasound technology to better detect cancers at an early, curable stage.

 Studying why African Americans have a higher incidence of prostate cancer and developing more sensitive detection methods for these men.

 Discovering new agents to prevent and more effectively treat prostate cancer.

 Supporting high-risk projects that explore novel ideas and attract researchers from a range of disciplines.

The NCI awards only a small number of Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants to support research on several of the most common and deadly cancers, including prostate, breast, gastrointestinal and lung. Two other SPORE grants were renewed this year, at Johns Hopkins University and Baylor University.

"During the past year, the Cancer Center has made a concerted effort to improve the care of prostate cancer patients in Michigan and to develop an outstanding research program by bringing together a group of highly talented individuals," says center Director Max S. Wicha.

"This award acknowledges that we have created one of only three centers recognized by the NCI as a leader in research and treatment of prostate cancer."

For more information about prostate and other cancers, call the CancerAnswer Line, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, at 1-800-865-1125.