The issue of why some cancer is resistant to treatment is a fundamental question among oncologists.
And it's one that researchers at an Oklahoma cancer center hope to answer, thanks to a $10 million grant announced Wednesday.
“One of our greatest challenges with cancer is the fact that about 35 percent of patients with cancer will ultimately die from their disease, and the main reason for that is they don't respond or they develop resistance to the therapy we are using,” said Dr. Robert Mannel, the director of the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma.
The Stephenson Cancer Center will use the $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to better understand why some cancer cells are resistant to chemotherapy and radiation.
The grant is to be spread out over a five-year period.
One of the center's goals with the grant money is to help young investigators who have good ideas further develop their ideas and compile preliminary data. The next step would then be to help them find other funding for those ideas, Mannel said.
The hope is that the grant will help to create an incubator-type setting at the center, jump-starting several cancer research projects for investigators to pursue, he said.
Mannel said the grant is not only good for the center, but also for Oklahoma and its bioresearch community.
“That really does a lot toward creating great jobs and keeping the brightest students in Oklahoma and young scientists here,” he said. “These grants like this have a huge economic impact for the state of Oklahoma, and really I think that's important and good news for us that we have a growing and robust bioresearch infrastructure.”