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UPCI Researcher Dr. Merrill Egorin Honored with ASCO Translational Research Professorship


PITTSBURGH, May 22, 2009 – Merrill Egorin, MD, professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), has received the 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Translational Research Professorship for his work in improving cancer treatments and supporting the next generation of researchers.

The award provides $100,000 annually for five years to further the training and career development of clinical oncologists for whom translational research is the primary or major component of their professional activities.

"I am tremendously honored to receive this wonderful award, which truly encourages bench-to-bedside research," said Dr. Egorin. "I've dedicated my career to pursuing translational research and having my efforts recognized by ASCO is both humbling and inspiring."

"This award acknowledges Dr. Egorin's lifelong dedication to improving cancer treatments and rewards his ongoing and passionate commitment to mentoring the next generation of researcher," said Nancy E. Davidson, MD, director of UPCI and UPMC Cancer Centers. "One of the most important responsibilities for accomplished researchers is the nurturing and support of junior investigators, and no one has been more engaged in this process than Dr. Egorin."

Dr. Egorin will use the professorship to continue his pre-clinical and clinical studies of inhibitors of the PARP family of enzymes and how they can be exploited as targets for cancer therapies. PARP enzymes are responsible for a variety of cellular processes, including gene regulation, replication and the maintenance of genomic stability. "The PARP family is an extremely interesting target for drug development. We already have several PARP inhibitors in early development, including several phase I trials evaluating the drug ABT-888. This award will support the expansion of the study of PARP inhibitors in cancer treatments," he said.

Dr. Egorin will officially receive his award on May 31 during ASCO's Grants and Awards ceremony.

Founded in 1984, The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute became a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in record time, six years. UPCI, the only cancer center in western Pennsylvania with this elite designation, serves the region's population of more than 6 million. Presently, UPCI receives a total of $154 million in research grants and is ranked 10th in funding from the NCI.

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