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Clayshoot Enthusiasts Shooting to Speed Up Cancer Research

Clayshoot Enthusiasts Shooting to Speed Up Cancer Research
M. D. Anderson News Release 04/22/02

Friends of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center will be leaving their gala garb behind in exchange for their shotguns, shells and earplugs to join in the third annual Shooting Down Cancer May 4 at American Shooting Centers, 16500 Westheimer Pkwy., in Houston.

The Saturday morning affair is expected to draw more than 48 competitors. Divided into four-member teams, shooters will be judged on their accuracy in hitting 100 clay targets, with awards given to top scoring teams and individuals.

But participating marksmen - especially M. D. Anderson Board of Visitors members and event chairs Bob Allison of Houston, Harry Longwell of Dallas and James F. Justiss Jr. of Jena, Louisiana - are really taking aim at cancer. The event will help further the search for solutions in translating the most promising basic science findings into effective potential therapies for cancer patients.

"The anatomy of the mouse in the research laboratory is obviously not as complicated as that of the human body," points out M. D. Anderson's Special Assistant to the President for Patient Affairs Dr. Taylor Wharton, who facilitates the peer-review group that awards funding to appropriate institutional projects. "There's actually a very large leap to be made from something that works at the basic science level to something that can kill  human cancers. Funding to support what it takes to translate therapy from the bench to the bedside isn't always easy to come by. The chairs for Shooting Down Cancer originated this event to do something to make a difference in this area."

From the first two years the clayshoot raised more than $245,000 for translational research projects. Among the initiatives funded since the event's inception are:

  • Evaluation of the expression of the COX-2 enzyme and its possible link to  endometrial cancer. The enzyme - which has never been examined for its role in endometrial cancer - has already been identified, upon overexpression, as playing a role in cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, liver, colon and bladder.
  • Further study of a genetic construct - or mini cancer therapy transportation vessels - which delivers a protein to enhance the effectiveness of certain therapies used in combating certain limb sarcomas and lung cancers. The genetic construct has shown promise in facilitating tumor cell death by stopping the tendency of the transcription factor (NFkB) to block the effectiveness of the therapy agent.
  • Work in metastatic breast cancer research, exploring how the E2F-1 gene can be activated to overexpress and cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) among the breast cancer cells. Researchers hope to do this by delivering the cell suicide agent to the cancer via a genetic construct or adenovirus vector.
  • Research into uveal melanoma, a cancer in the iris of the eye, which will test the efficacy of a specific vaccine in stopping the spread of the cancer through the blood after it is detected and treated in the eye. Uveal melanoma is the most common of intraocular tumors and the most deadly.

For more information, please call (800) 525-5841 or (713)792-3450.

04/22/02


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