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News from the CU system - Anschutz Medical Campus

Cancer Center scientists win $870,000 ARRA Challenge Grant
Funding will boost search for indicators of head, neck cancer stem cells

Xiao-Jing  Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
Xiao-Jing Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Colorado Cancer Center (UCCC) scientists have been awarded a coveted American Recovery and Rehabilitation Act (ARRA) Challenge Grant to find indicators of head and neck cancer stem cells.

Xiao-Jing Wang, M.D., Ph.D.; Antonio Jimeno, M.D., Ph.D.; John Song, M.D.; and Stephen Malkoski, M.D., Ph.D. are the co-investigators on the grant, which will be funded at $870,000 over two years. Of the 21,000 Challenge Grant applications considered by the National Institutes of Health, less than 3 percent will be funded with stimulus money. ARRA Challenge Grants were developed to move innovative, high-impact science from the laboratory to the clinic more quickly.

Many scientists believe most types of cancer are started by cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells may make up less than 0.1 percent, or one in 1,000 cells, of a solid tumor's bulk, making them hard to find.

"Scientists have identified markers for cancer stem cells in hematopoetic cancers and skin cancer, but head and neck cancer stem cells are significantly short of markers," said Wang, director of the UCCC Head and Neck Cancer Program, and a professor of pathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "If you know the marker, you can target it for treatment."

UCCC is the region's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Headquartered on the Anschutz Medical Campus , the center is a consortium of three state universities (University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Colorado Denver and Colorado State University) and five institutions (University of Colorado Hospital, The Children's Hospital, Denver Health, Denver VA Medical Center and National Jewish Health).

Previous Anschutz Medical Campus Stories
Cancer Center scientists win $870,000 ARRA Challenge Grant

University of Colorado Cancer Center wins National Cancer Institute grant

Ground broken on planned VA medical center

SOM, state labor department to manage training facility

Pulmonary hypertension drug helps former smokers

Breast cancer researcher receives gift from Avon


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