Hamid Honored By Cancer Society

October 23, 2009

BY: MELISSA MARINO

Rizwan Hamid, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Pediatrics, has been awarded a research scholar grant from the American Cancer Society.

The “Research Scholar Grants in Basic, Preclinical, Clinical and Epidemiology Research” provide support for independent, self-directed researchers in the first six years of their independent research careers to conduct basic, preclinical, clinical and epidemiology research projects.

Rizwan Hamid, M.D., Ph.D.

Rizwan Hamid, M.D., Ph.D.

The four-year, $717,000 grant will support Hamid’s research on genetic factors that influence survival in leukemias, in particular, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

“The question we have asked is: why do two people, who may have the same exact biological type of leukemia and same initial response to chemotherapy, end up having different periods of survival?” said Hamid, who is also a member of the Division of Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Hamid and colleagues have found that a gene called transforming-growth-interacting factor (TGIF) is a potential prognostic indicator in patients with AML. They found that lower levels of TGIF expression correlated with poorer prognosis; higher levels predicted longer survival.

Hamid’s preliminary studies suggest that alterations in TGIF levels may reprogram some key functions of hematopoietic stem cells — the stem cells that give rise to the various types of blood cells.

The ACS grant will support the use of mouse models of AML to determine the mechanisms by which TGIF affects the progression of AML. These findings, Hamid said, could lead to better diagnosis and treatment.

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