VAI Awarded Grants For Cancer Study

November 9, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — Three Van Andel Institute researchers have been awarded more than $400,000 in highly competitive Concept Award grants from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program of the Office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs.

“This is outstanding news,” said VAI Research Director George Vande Woude. “This funding will allow our researchers to learn more about what part specific genes and proteins play in breast cancer development and metastasis, and to develop new methods to track genetic changes and drug sensitivity.”

Concept Award grants fund initial untested theories that could lead to testable hypotheses. Each grant awarded the VAI is worth $136,500 and funds research from Sept. 1, 2007 to Aug. 31, 2008.

The project of Kate Eisenmann, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the VAI Laboratory of Cell Structure and Signal Integration, involves genetic manipulation of a protein known as DIP in breast cancer cells. Carrie Graveel, Ph.D, another VAI postdoctoral fellow who works in the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, will study the role that the gene Met plays in regulating mammary cancer stem cells. The work of James Resau, Ph.D., distinguished scientific investigator in the Laboratory of Analytical, Cellular and Molecular Microscopy, will concentrate on finding effective treatments for breast cancer tumors based on genetic information from the tumors.

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