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USC cancer researchers receive grants

by Amy Hamaker
From left, Preet Chaudhary, Stephen Gruber, Giridharan Ramsingh and Julie Lang (Photo/Paul Lester)
From left, Preet Chaudhary, Stephen Gruber, Giridharan Ramsingh and Julie Lang (Photo/Paul Lester)

Guests and researchers gathered to celebrate the future of cancer care at the annual STOP CANCER Research Career Development Awards presentation on Feb. 7 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

The annual event allows STOP CANCER members and guests to meet new and past awardees and hear about topical research. Eleven of this year’s awardees, whose studies cover a broad spectrum of cancer research, were selected to receive awards and grants. Three of the recipients were from the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center:

• Preet Chaudhary, program director of the Norris cancer center’s stem cell transplant program, associate director for translational research and co-leader of the leukemia-lymphoma program at the Norris cancer center, received the Ronald H. Bloom Family Lymphoma Research Award for $150,000. Chaudhary’s team works to understand the molecular basis of human cancer and translate the information into clinical practice. One of his major areas of interest is the role of proteins encoded by human viruses in the development of lymphoproliferative disorders, including lymphomas and multiple myelomas.

• Giridharan Ramsingh, assistant professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, received the Marni Levine Memorial Research Career Development Award for $150,000. Ramsingh focuses on genome sequencing of therapy-related acute myeloid leukemia, a sub-type of leukemia that is the result of a complication from receiving chemotherapy or radiation.

• Julie Lang, associate professor of surgery at the Keck School, received the Marni Levine Memorial Seed Grant for $25,000. Lang has developed a method to isolate in the bloodstream rare cancer cells that are shed by a primary breast cancer tumor. She can then study the molecular biology of these cells to determine their potential to spread.

Stephen Gruber, director of the cancer center, was on hand to congratulate USC’s recipients.

“We are incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work our researchers at USC Norris accomplish,” he said. “All of us greatly appreciate the support that STOP CANCER has given to help us fulfill our mission to make cancer a disease of the past.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, STOP CANCER is a nonprofit volunteer organization that funds promising and innovative scientists in their early research on all forms of cancer prevention, treatment, cures and clinical applications. The organization works with National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers and other hospitals in the United States to carry out this mission.

The organization has funded more than 187 grants for cancer research to 146 researchers, with support valued at more than $58 million. Every grant the organization makes is matched with in-kind support from the recipient cancer center.

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