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.

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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.

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bone marrow transplant unit opened under direction of Dr. William Vaughan.19

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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.

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uAB cANcer

ceNter hoLdS

SPore grANtS iN BreASt,

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cerviAL cANcerS. oNLy

three iNStitutioNS iN the

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the NumBer oF SPoreS

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THE

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