Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Massey researcher provides expert commentary on enzyme’s role in cancer and inflammation

Sarah Spiegel

Internationally renowned VCU Massey Cancer Center researcher Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D., together with Santiago Lima, Ph.D., have co-authored an article for the Previews section of the Cell Press journal, Structure, on a recent research breakthrough. In their expert commentary, Spiegel and Lima discuss how the newly discovered atomic structure of sphingosine-1-phosphate will expand mechanistic understanding of the molecule significantly. The molecule itself was originally discovered by Spiegel in the mid-1990s and has been found to play a role in cancer progression, inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

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Award funds Massey and VIMM research on new prostate cancer therapy

Paul Fisher at his desk.

Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center and VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine researcher Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., has been awarded the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s 2012 A. David Mazzone PCF Challenge Award. Fisher shares this award with Drs. Martin G. Pomper and George Sgouros, both from Johns Hopkins University Medical Center. The Challenge Awards are highly competitive, two-year awards that provide a total of $1 million per team in support of large-scale innovative research projects in the area of prostate cancer. The award will provide VCU $400,000 in direct costs over two years.

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New drug enhances radiation treatment for brain cancer in preclinical studies

A novel drug may help increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy for the most deadly form of brain cancer, report scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center. In mouse models of human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the new drug helped significantly extend survival when used in combination with radiation therapy. Recently published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, the study provides the first preclinical evidence demonstrating that an ATM kinase inhibitor radiosensitizes gliomas. 

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Clinical trial studies effectiveness of diet and exercise in preventing gynecologic cancer recurrence

The Gynecologic Oncology Group is leading a nationwide phase III clinical trial called the “Lifestyle Intervention for Ovarian Cancer Enhanced Survival (LIvES)” study. Led locally by Weldon Chafe, M.D., Dianne Harris Wright Professor of Gynecology Oncology at VCU Massey Cancer Center, this trial is the first to study if diet and exercise can affect cancer recurrence in women treated for ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer. Ovarian cancer begins in the female reproductive glands called ovaries. Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3 percent of all cancers in women.

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Massey post-doctoral student recognized for his research at annual Women’s Health Research Day

Akimitsu Yamada

Akimitsu Yamada, Ph.D., a VCU Massey Cancer Center post-doctoral student was recently recognized for his research at the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health Ninth Annual Women’s Health Research Day, a networking opportunity celebrating and promoting excellence in interdisciplinary women’s health research. Yamada’s poster, “Human breast cancers that co-express sphingosine kinase 1 and ABCC1 have significant shorter disease free survival,” received the Elizabeth Fries Young Investigator Award. 

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