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Winship gets $7.5 million to do lung cancer research

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By: Diana Zelikovich

Issue date: 3/28/06 Section: News

PrintEmail Article Tools Page 1 of 1 Emory's Winship Cancer Institute now has another $7.5 million to help eradicate lung cancer. Winship representatives announced the National Cancer Institute grant on March 7.

Fadlo Khuri, associate director of cancer and translations research and co-principal investigator of the grant, said research will be directed towards improving current lung cancer therapies and the understanding of biological mechanisms that allow cancer cells to replicate.

"We are looking to take conventional therapies and develop them in a targeted, individualized way," Khuri said.

Vincent Dollard, director of communications at the institute, said the team will also research methods for lung cancer detection, enabling physicians to diagnose and treat patients earlier.

Khuri said he wants to make sure researchers for the various components of the project interact well so their findings can be effectively integrated.

Research is set to begin when the first check for $1.5 million arrives on June 1. The project is expected to last through May 31, 2011.

Khuri said he was optimistic about the endeavor.

"I am sure that we will make important discoveries and that we will significantly advance the biological understanding of lung cancer," he said. "We will make progress through research, but we also need luck."

The research project is based on the principle that the receptors enabling cells to communicate with each other mutate when a cell turns cancerous.

Many cancers share similar mutations in these receptors, which are found on the cells' surfaces. The research team wants to examine these similarities to determine specific pathways to kill cancerous cells, Khuri said.

In addition to the $7.5 million NCI grant, the Cancer Institute will look to a variety of other sources for funding, including the Georgia Cancer Coalition and Emory itself.

Dollard said federal funding for lung cancer research has increased in recent years but still falls short of what is needed.

"We are always looking for additional funding," he said.

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