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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA Cancer Center earns renewal of $12M grant

    The UA Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Program received a prestigious $12 million grant last week.

    The grant, via the National Cancer Institute, is one of only four Specialized Program of Research Excellence grants given out in the U.S. The award is highly competitive, especially because grant money from the National Institutes of Health is staying flat, said Eugene Gerner, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program and a professor of anatomy and cell biology.

    The grant is a renewal of the cancer center’s 2002 award.

    “”It speaks well of the whole program to get it renewed,”” Gerner said.

    The center

    The (gastrointestinal cancer) program is one of the top four in the country in research, science and clinical translation effects.

    -David Alberts,
    director,UA Cancer Center

    is one of the top 20 cancer centers in the country and in the top five nationally “”in research dollars per investigator,”” said director David Alberts.

    On top of that, he said, “”The (gastrointestinal cancer) program is one of the top four in the country in research, science and clinical translation effects.””

    Jorge Gomez, branch chief of the Oregon systems branch for NIH and director of the Excellence program since 1998, agrees with that assessment of the program.

    “”They’re an outstanding multidisciplinary group and they compete at a national level,”” Gomez said.

    Only five programs can be chosen for the grant every year, and this year only three were successful, he added.

    “”It’s not just a formality to get it renewed,”” Gerner said. “”There’s only a 10 to 20 percent chance of getting this grant. Our grant received the highest rating of any of the grants that was renewed.””

    The previous grant resulted in five patents and 138 publications, he added.

    “”We’ve been very fortunate,”” Gerner said. “”We’ve completed a colon cancer clinical trial that will be put into practice nationally.””

    Twenty percent of cancer deaths in the United States are from gastrointestinal cancer, and the research from the cancer center will go toward preventing, diagnosing and dealing with cancer, Gomez said.

    Gastrointestinal cancer can affect the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, intestines and colon.

    “”The whole idea is conquering cancer,”” Alberts said.

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