from the precancerous actinic keratoses
lesions,” Dr. elmets says. Future studies are
planned to establish whether other NSAIDs
have the same properties as Celebrex as
skin-cancer chemopreventive agents.
tREAtMENt IN thE tIp Of A tAIL In spite of more than 30 years of effort,
the prognosis for patients afflicted with
malignant gliomas remains dismal. Through
the brain cancer SPORe (Specialized
Program of Research excellence) grant, the
Cancer Center is working to translate the
laboratory-based efforts of its scientists into
clinical protocols that address the needs for
more effective treatments.
One of the most innovative and promis-
ing of these is led by Cancer Center scientist
harald Sontheimer, Ph.D. In studying the
use of chlorotoxin—a poison found in the
stinger of the giant Israeli scorpion—in the
treatment of gliomas, Dr. Sontheimer has
found that it inhibits the channels in the
brain through which glioma cells travel.
Patients who had just six doses of the chlo-
rotoxin experienced a median survival of
12.1 months, compared to just 4.3 months
in the control group. A national phase III
clinical trial led by the Cancer Center began
in 2009 and in interim evaluations has
shown efficacy in treating gliomas.
spOREs BRINg MORE sUCCEss The NCI’s Specialized Program of
Research excellence (SPORe) programs
are highly competitive and prestigious
grants designed to quickly and safely move
research findings from the laboratory bench
to the patient bedside—a process known as
translational research, and an area that the
Cancer Center has long emphasized and
earned recognition for its success.
The Cancer Center has experienced tre-
mendous success with the SPORe program.
In 1999, it was one of the first to receive a
SPORe in ovarian cancer: a $9-million grant
that supported several of the center’s trans-
lational immunotherapy, gene therapy and
prevention efforts for that disease. In 2000,
the center received a $13.8-million breast
SPORe, which has yielded several targeted
therapies and anticancer compounds developed
at UAB that are now in human clinical trials.
In 2002, the Cancer Center became one
of the first two institutions in the nation to
receive a SPORe in brain tumors, which
has allowed the neuro-oncology program to
become a national leader in the brain tumor
field. The following year, in 2003, the
Cancer Center received one of the first three
SPORes in pancreatic cancer.
Currently, the Cancer Center holds
SPORe grants in breast, brain, pancreatic
and cervical cancers. (The cervical SPORe
is in collaboration with the Sidney Kimmel
Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns
hopkins University and the University of
Colorado at Boulder.) The Cancer Center
is among an elite group: Only three institu-
tions in the United States surpass the num-
ber of SPORes held by the center.
Learn more at uab.edu/cancer
Dr. max Cooper elected to National Academy of Science and named a Howard Hughes medical Institute Investigator—both firsts in Alabama. Center has $28 million in research support.
Center awarded $4.8 million for monoclonal antibody trials with intravenous drugs, in com- petition with 30 other institutions.
Cancer Center launches gene therapy research effort.
Portrait of major Cancer Center supporters Herman and olden unveiled in Wallace Tumor Institute.
bone marrow transplant unit opened under direction of Dr. William Vaughan.19
Three-story addition to Wallace Tumor Institute adds 45,000 square feet of research space. Dr. ed Partridge funded for cancer control program in black belt.
Herceptin trials in breast cancer continue center’s leadership in monoclonal anti- body research.
SPore grANtS iN BreASt,
BrAiN, PANcreAtic ANd
cerviAL cANcerS. oNLy
three iNStitutioNS iN the
uNited StAteS SurPASS
the NumBer oF SPoreS
heLd By the ceNter.
6 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