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Case Western Reserve School of Medicine Scientist Wins Prestigious NIH New Innovators Award

Grant Will Allow Exploration of New Methods Designed to Treat Cancer

Released: 21-Oct-2013 3:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Case Western Reserve University
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Newswise — Derek Taylor, PhD, a member of the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, has been awarded the prestigious New Innovator Award by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH awards this grant to scientists proposing highly innovative approaches to major contemporary challenges in biomedical research, under the agency’s High Risk-High Reward program.

“Only the absolute top notch scientists compete for this award, which undergoes intense review by leaders at the NIH,” stated Stanton Gerson, MD, Asa and Patricia Shiverick- Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the Seidman Cancer Center at UH Case Medical Center. “Derek continues to excel as a cancer scientist at Case Western Reserve. I have been impressed with his continuous innovative approaches to fundamental questions in cancer. Telomere research is critical since this process is central to how cancer continues to grow and outlive normal cells.”

Taylor is an assistant professor, Department of Pharmacology, at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. He received the New Innovator Award to support his research on the induction of cancer cell death by selective DNA misincorporation.

Taylor’s laboratory studies chromosome stability. His lab is particularly interested in telomeres, the specialized structures that cap and protect the ends of chromosomes. Dr. Taylor’s research also focuses on a special enzyme, telomerase, which interacts with telomeres to contribute to chromosome stability. As telomerase is upregulated in the majority of human cancers, the Taylor lab is investigating how to use its unique mechanism to deliver toxic compounds to cancer cells selectively.

Taylor’s research will use telomerase as a “Trojan horse” to deliver toxic drugs exclusively to cancer cells. The results obtained from the proposed experiments could lead to an entirely new, and more successful, method for treating a diverse set of human cancers.

The New Innovator Award initiative, established in 2007, supports investigators who are within 10 years of their terminal degree or clinical residency, but who have not yet received a Research Project Grant (R01) or equivalent NIH grant, to conduct exceptionally innovative research.

Taylor is the only scientist in Ohio to receive a 2013 New Innovator’s Award.

About Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation’s top medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching. The School’s innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership,
and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century. Nine Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the School of Medicine.

Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 800 MD and MD/PhD students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News & World Report’s “Guide to Graduate Education.”

The School of Medicine’s primary affiliate is University Hospitals Case Medical Center and is additionally affiliated with MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002.

About Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center is an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center located at Case Western Reserve University. The center, now in its 25th year of funding, integrates the cancer research activities of the largest biomedical research and health care institutions in Ohio – Case Western Reserve, University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic. NCI-designated cancer centers are characterized by scientific excellence and the capability to integrate a diversity of research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer. It is led by Stanton Gerson, MD, Asa and Patricia Shiverick- Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology, director of the National Center for Regenerative Medicine, Case Western Reserve, and director of the Seidman Cancer Center at UH Case Medical Center.

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