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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Awards Major Grant to Stanford Researcher

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 General News J E 4
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LLS Specialized Center of Research Program Hits $178 Million Mark



WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) today announced it has awarded a new Marshall A. Lichtman Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) grant to Beverly Mitchell, M.D., George E. Becker Professor of Medicine at Stanford University.



Dr. Mitchell and her team will receive $1.25 million a year for five years, for a total of $6.25 million. The SCOR program is LLS's largest research grant, with total funding of $178.25 million since its inception in 2000. The title of her SCOR is: Molecular and Cellular Characterization of Myelodysplastic Syndromes.



The SCOR program brings together teams of researchers representing different disciplines in collaborative efforts to discover new approaches to treat patients with leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Awards go to groups that best demonstrate outstanding scientific promise facilitated by the synergy that will occur from their combined efforts.



Dr. Mitchell's team is studying stem cells in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a collection of related disorders in which damaged bone marrow cells can't mature into functional blood cells. The disorders frequently progress to acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Her team has recently identified new molecular markers than can help identify the MDS stem cells that have progressed to AML, and are working to develop therapies to target these abnormal MDS stem cells. A clinical trial of an investigational drug that targets one of the enzymes involved in the development of MDS will be initiated.



"Dr. Mitchell and her team of investigators are undertaking cutting-edge research to reach a better understanding of the root causes of MDS," said Louis DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS's chief scientific officer. "Their work will likely lead to new therapies that target these diseases. This research team is an impressive addition to the outstanding scientists already in the SCOR program."



SCOR is one of three integrated research grant programs established by LLS. These also include the Career Development Program, which provides stipends to investigators of exceptional promise in the early stages of their careers; and the Translational Research Program, which encourages and supports outstanding research with strong promise of translating emerging biomedical knowledge into new treatments. In addition, the Therapy Acceleration Program is designed to help move potential therapies more quickly through the development pipeline.



About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, headquartered in White Plains, NY, with 68 chapters in the United States and Canada, is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $600 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Last year alone, LLS made 6.3 million contacts with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.



For more information about blood cancer, visit www.LLS.org or call LLS's Information Resource Center (IRC), a call center staffed by master's level social workers, nurses and health educators who provide information, support and resources to patients and their families and caregivers. IRC information specialists are available at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.





Andrea Greif 914-821-8958 andrea.greif@lls.org

SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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