24 U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R

A RESEARCH PAPER on multiple myeloma from the laboratory of Ralph Sanderson, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Pathology and co-leader of the Cancer Center s cancer cell biology program, has been selected as one of the best research papers of 2011 published by the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a leading international biomedical research journal. Vishnu Ramani, Ph.D., a research associate in Dr. Sanderson s laboratory, and Yang Yang, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Pathology, also are lead authors of this study.

The paper, titled Heparanase Plays a Dual Role in Driving Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) Signaling by Enhancing HGF Expression and Activity, was selected as the best in the field of glycobiology and extracellular matrix. The paper also had been selected as Paper of the Week, a distinction reserved for the top 1 percent of papers reviewed in terms of significance and overall importance by JBC.

l quick takes RESEARCH BRIEFS

Research Paper on Blood Cancer Hailed as One of the Best

Study Identifies Key Regulator of Brain Tumor Growth

UAB Study Finds Sigmoidoscopy Reduces Colorectal Cancer Rate RESEARCH CONDUCTED at UAB as part of a national study reveals that flex- ible sigmoidoscopy a screening test for colorectal cancer that is less invasive and has fewer side effects than a colonos- copy reduces deaths due to colorectal cancer.

Overall, colorectal cancer deaths were reduced 26 percent and new cases were reduced 21 percent as a result of screening with sigmoidoscopy, accord- ing to findings of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer (PLCO) Screening Trial that appeared in May online in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Sigmoidoscopy involves examination of the lower colon using a thin, flexible,

tube-like instrument called a sigmoido- scope to view the anus, rectum and sigmoid colon. It has fewer side effects, requires less bowel preparation, does not require sedation and poses a lower risk of bowel perforation than colonoscopy, in which a similarly flexible but longer tube is used to view the entire colon.

The most effective screening test for colorectal cancer is the one people are willing to take. The results of this study may encourage more people to have colorectal screening with the less inva- sive and less expensive sigmoidoscopy, says Mona Fouad, M.D., M.P.H., prin- cipal investigator of the UAB PLCO site.

NEW RESEARCH from the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center has identified a key regulator of brain-tumor growth that holds potential for targeted therapy and can be an independent predictor in patient out- comes. Christopher D. Willey, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Radiation Oncology and Cancer Center associate scientist, has examined a protein called myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate or MARCKS in the context of glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and deadly type of brain tumor.

Until now, little was known about the effect of MARCKS on brain tumors. Based on studies in glioblastoma cell cultures and in human glioblastoma tumors implanted in mice, the research team found that when MARCKS levels are low, glioblastomas behave aggressively. When MARCKS levels are high, glioblastomas are much less aggres- sive, suggesting that MARCKS may behave like a tumor suppressor, may be a biomarker for prognosis and could serve as a potential target for therapy.