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December 8, 1994


Medical school gets three grants to study breast cancer

Pitt's medical school has received three grants from the United States Army Breast Cancer Research Initiative to support basis science research on this disease, which is expected to strike about 180,000 women this year.

The grants, totaling more than $763,000, have been awarded to researchers in the departments of pharmacology and pathology.

A four-year, $480,000 grant could fund up to 24 individuals for pre-doctoral training in breast cancer biology and therapy. Each student will be enrolled in a Ph.D. granting program in the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Public Health and will perform basic investigations involving possible breast cancer therapies.

Nicole Resnick, post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of pathology professor David L. Cooper, will receive $123,000 over three years for research on the expression and regulation of the cell adhesion molecule CD44, which is found on breast cancer cells. This molecule has many biological functions in the body's immune response to cancer.

John S. Lazo, chairperson of pharmacology, will receive $60,000 to support Robert Rice, an M.D./Ph.D. student who will be performing research on apoptosis (programmed cell death) in human breast cancer cells. The project will determine whether the enzyme protein kinase C is a key signaling system in this process, thus a target for potential drugs.

Center funded to study older adults' chronic health problems The National Center for Nursing Research has awarded Pitt's School of Nursing $1.5 million to create a research center to support various studies of chronic health disorders among older adults.

The nursing school proposed the center because of the increasing prevalence of chronic health disorders contributing to premature death, reduced normal activities and economic hardships.

The center will combine an administrative core to provide overall guidance, a research-support core to store and analyze data from various studies, and a development and dissemination core to offer training and other activities to each of the studies.

Chronic health disorders are permanent and require long periods of care. Six of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States are chronic in nature, accounting for 77 percent of the mortality from natural causes and 68 percent of deaths from all causes.

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