Professor George P. Studzinski, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA, a DECIDE Associated Partner, has recently received the prestigious R01 Research Award from the National Cancer Institute, NIH.

The grant awarded is entitled "Vitamin D Analogs as Adjuvants in Chemotherapy of Cancer ". The award is for the five years up to late 2017. This translational - from bench to clinic - grant will fund the research in Professor Studzinski’s laboratories on developing novel vitamin D-based regimens which can supplement the current cytotoxic therapies for human Acute Myeloid Leukemias.

The research will focus on cellular signaling pathways and microRNAs, which result in the activation of the transcription factors responsible for the normalization of the malignant cell phenotype. The hypothesis is that, analogous to the induction of pluripotency (iPS cells) in somatic cells by the expression of an appropriate balance of transcription factors, induced differentiation activates transcription factors which effect differentiation and the associated cell proliferation arrest. Thus, cell differentiation can supplement cytotoxic therapy. A clinical trial has already been approved by the USA Federal Drug Administration.