Dogan Receives Landon Award

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Umran Dogan, adjunct professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, is part of a research team that has been presented with the Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for International Collaboration by the American Association for Cancer Research.

The award was presented to a team of experts in genetics, thoracic oncology, geology and pathology working in the United States and Turkey. The award supports highly meritorious research being conducted collaboratively by investigators in different countries around the world, and aims to promote international cancer research collaboration as an effective means to accelerate progress against cancer by providing the necessary support to sustain and enhance such collaborations.

In addition to Dogan, team members include lead researcher Michele Carbone, M.D., Ph.D., and Haining Yang, Ph.D., University of Hawaii; Nancy Cox, Ph.D., and Ian Steele, Ph.D., University of Chicago; Harvey Pass, M.D., NYU School of Medicine and Clinical Cancer Center; Joseph Testa, Ph.D., Fox Chase Cancer Center; Y. Izzetin Baris, M.D., University of Hacettepe in Ankara, Turkey; and Salih Emri, M.D., and Murat Tuncer, M.D., Hacettepe University School of Medicine in Ankara, Turkey.

Dogan and members of the team of international collaborators have discovered a unique mesothelioma epidemic in three Turkish villages and have demonstrated that it is caused by a genetic predisposition to mineral fiber carcinogenesis, a gene-environment interaction. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer where malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Carbone and colleagues have identified exposure to erionite as the likely cause of the epidemic and have reduced exposure to that mineral fiber throughout the villages. They will apply the AACR INNOVATOR grant to their study of linkage analysis to identify the predisposing gene or genes for mesothelioma among this cultural group and map the genetic risk factors by genetic linkage studies. Findings from this research have implications far beyond the villages in Turkey as they can be applied to other geographic areas and communities worldwide with the goal of preventing this deadly form of cancer or finding new life-saving treatments.

Reinforcing its commitment to supporting high-quality cancer research, the Kirk A. and Dorothy P. Landon Foundation partner with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to support two funding opportunities, the Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for Cancer Prevention Research and the Landon Foundation-AACR INNOVATOR Award for International Collaboration in Cancer Research. The awards, each offering a two-year $100,000 grant, support the work of promising cancer researchers focusing on cancer prevention and international collaboration, respectively.