M.D., the study evaluated the efficacy and

safety of celecoxib as a chemopreventive

agent for actinic keratoses, which are pre-

program because of its effectiveness in pre-

clinical animal model breast cancer studies.

Most recently, Dr. Muccio and his team

have been working with the University of

Wisconsin, which has been conducting the

first stages of the phase I trials in humans. “So

far, they have found UAB-30 to show very lit-

tle toxicity and very favorable pharmacology,”

Dr. Muccio says. “The second part of their

trial will be a dose-escalation study to better

determine the toxicity level for patients.”

While the Wisconsin group is examin-

ing the effects of UAB-30 as a preventative

drug, their results will influence UAB-

30’s role in cancer treatment at the Cancer

Center. “Once they have determined the

drug’s toxicity, we will be using UAB-30 in

phase II trials as a treatment for breast can-

cer patients here at UAB,” says Dr. Muccio.

Those trials could begin as soon as fall 2011.


In 2009, UAB researchers announced the

discovery of a new and efficient method to

produce and study one of the cancer-causing

strains of human papillomavirus (hPV). Of

the more than 120 strains of hPV, 15 are

cancerous growths on the skin.

Celecoxib is in a class of NSAIDs called

COX-2 inhibitors. Currently, it is used to

relieve pain, tenderness, swelling and stiffness

caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis

and spinal arthritis. It also can be used off-

label to treat painful menstrual periods and

pain from other causes and is used to reduce

the number of colon and rectal polyps in

patients with familial adenomatous polyposis.

In animal models, Celebrex has inhib-

ited the development of ultraviolet-induced

pre-malignant skin papillomas, which are

thought to correspond to actinic keratoses.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

followed 240 subjects ages 37 to 87 with

10 to 40 actinic keratoses at eight U.S. aca-

demic medical centers over an 11-month

period. At nine months after randomization,

there was no difference in the incidence of

new actinic keratoses developed between the

placebo group and those receiving celecoxib.

Compared with the placebo, celecoxib was

highly effective in preventing non-melanoma

skin cancers from developing in subjects

who had large numbers of actinic keratoses.

“While celecoxib was not effective in

preventing new actinic keratoses, the study

raises the possibility that the drug is effec-

tive in preventing cancer from developing

classified as high-risk because they often cause

cervical cancer. Two of those 15—known as

hPV 16 and hPV 18—cause approximately

two-thirds of all cervical cancers.

International hPV research experts

Louise Chow, Ph.D., and Thomas Broker,

Ph.D., both UAB professors of biochemistry

and molecular genetics, led a study that dis-

covered a laboratory process for producing

hPV 18, the culmination of more than 20

years of work.

Previously, scientists had been unable to

produce hPV 18 in a lab setting, making

it extremely difficult to study the virus and

its effects. The new method discovered by

Drs. Broker and Chow allows researchers to

reproduce the entire infection cycle of hPV

18 in primary human skin cells. By doing so,

this process could potentially unveil prom-

ising targets for drug design and antiviral

agents to treat existing hPV-18 infections as

well as other types of the virus.


Since 2000, Cancer Center researchers

have been studying the effects of combining

erbitux (cetuximab) with radiation for the

treatment of advanced head and neck cancer.

In 2010, the results of a decade’s work were

published in The Lancet Oncology—and the

findings were significant.

Researchers found that combining the

two treatments improved the five-year sur-

vival of patients with advanced head and

neck cancer by 10 percentage points, from 36

percent still alive at five years to 46 percent.

The Cancer Center was a leader in the devel-

opment and approval of erbitux, a mono-

clonal antibody that attaches to and blocks

Program leadership recruited: Dr. max Cooper (immunobiology); Dr. Charles bugg (x-ray crystallography); Dr. William Crist (pediatric oncol- ogy); Dr. richard Compans (virology); Dr. Seng-jaw Soong (biostatistics); and Dr. Charles balch (surgical oncology)

lurleen b. Wallace Patient Tower opens.

Supporters oard holds first fundraising gala, raising $80,000.

19 75

19 79

19 86

Wallace Tumor Institute occupied. Cancer Center has 94 members with $6.5 million in research support.

19 75

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uAb demonstrates for the first time that a viral disease can be treated successfully with intrave- nous drugs.

Cancer Center Supporters romberg as first

president.19 77 19


Dr. Durant leaves

uAB reSeArcherS ANNouNced the

diScovery oF A NeW ANd eFFicieNt

method to Produce ANd Study oNe oF the cANcer-

cAuSiNg StrAiNS oF humAN PAPiLLomAviruS (hPv).

IN 2009,

4 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