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Colorado cancer researcher earns grant to take on leukemia

ARRA grant of $1.4 million could lead to better treatment of deadly disease

A two-year, $1.4 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant will kick start research in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Christopher Porter, M.D.
Christopher Porter, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and pediatric oncologist at The Children's Hospital, is the beneficiary of the faculty recruitment grant. He will use the funds to employ high-tech tools to screen for genes in the leukemia that, when modified, better enable conventional therapies to kill the cells.

About 12,800 American adults and children will be diagnosed with AML in 2009. While strides have been made in curing other kinds of leukemia, five-year survival for AML is about 60 percent in children and less than 25 percent in adults.

"This grant gives me the freedom to do some experiments that may be a little bit riskier (than what typically gets federal funding) but have potential for very high reward," said Porter, who will hire three specialists to work on the project. ARRA grant recipients are required to use the funds to create or retain jobs, and for projects that have high probability of moving quickly from the laboratory to the public.

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