Eleven grants have been awarded to Auburn University faculty through a university research initiative in support of interdisciplinary cancer research efforts.
The Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer (AURIC), based at Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has announced funding of 11 grants to nine investigators through its Seed Grant program. Each grant is for one year and up to $20,000.
The list of awardees includes faculty from Auburn’s Harrison School of Pharmacy, College of Human Science, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and College of Veterinary Medicine.
AURIC was created to improve both human and animal health, foster an environment of excellence in cancer research, promote research that enhances competitiveness to advance the understanding of the biology of cancer, and foster the translation of novel technologies from the laboratory to the clinic.
AURIC embodies the “One Medicine” concept which links human, animal and environmental health, and where discoveries in one species advance health in all species. “AURIC is human medicine, animal medicine, research and diagnostics where faculty, students, and staff are working together to solve the complex puzzle of cancer,” said Dr. Bruce Smith, director of AURIC.
“This grant program is one of the mechanisms that AURIC is using to enhance cancer research at Auburn University and represents an investment of almost $220,000. In order to leverage this funding into additional extramural funding, each grant proposal was required to have an external funding plan as part of the proposal.”
The proposals underwent peer review and only those that were judged to have scientific merit and a potential for subsequent external funding were funded. The following grants were awarded:
- Non-Invasive Imaging of Nanomedicines for Detection and Treatment of Cancer, Dr. Robert Arnold, associate professor of Pharmacal Sciences, Harrison School of Pharmacy.
- Regulation of miRNAs Targeting Tumor Suppressor and Oncogenes and the Cancer Phenotype in Canine Breast Cancer Models, Dr. R. Curtis Bird, professor of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine
- Recombinant DNA‐Modified Canine Breast Cancer Cell Lines as Immunomodulatory Agents in Autologous Dendritic Cell/Breast Cancer Hybrid‐Cell Fusion Vaccines, Dr. R. Curtis Bird, professor of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine
- Integral X-ray Target/Collimator for Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, Dr. William Brawner, Ware Distinguished Professor of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine
- Orthotopic Models of Human Colon Cancer, Dr. Michael Greene, assistant professor, Nutrition and Food Science, College of Human Sciences
- Investigating the Role of Fibrinogen in the Cancer-related Angiogenic Process Through a Novel Tissue-engineered Breast Cancer Model, Dr. Elizabeth Lipke, assistant professor, Chemical Engineering, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
- Suppressive effects of omega-3 Stearidonic fatty acid (SDA) on human prostate cancer cell viability, Dr. Mahmoud Mansour, associate professor, Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine
- Advanced Multispectral Imaging Upgrade for Auburn Laboratory for Imaging Animal Systems (Project ALIAS), Dr. Peter Panizzi, assistant professor, Pharmacal Sciences, Harrison School of Pharmacy
- Development of a pan-tumor specific conditionally replicating canine adenoviral vector (CRAd), Dr. Bruce Smith, Professor, Scott-Ritchey Research Center, College of Veterinary Medicine
- Evaluation of the Utility of Purine Nucleoside Phosphorylase for Canine Cancer Therapy, Dr. Bruce Smith, Scott-Ritchey Research Center, College of Veterinary Medicine
- Pharmacist as Provider of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Service, Dr. Salisa Westrick, Associate Professor, Pharmacy Care Systems, Harrison School of Pharmacy
Founded in 2012, the Alabama Legislature, through the sponsorship of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn, was instrumental in establishing AURIC. The Alabama legislature has appropriated more than $2 million to support cancer research by Auburn University faculty in a wide range of cancer-related areas. “The goal is to leverage our initial funding into increased federal and private support,” Smith said.
In 2013, more than 27,000 new cases of cancer are estimated to be diagnosed and more than 10,000 people are estimated to die of cancer in Alabama, according to the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Fact and Figures, 2013.
“In addition to being ill with cancer or seeing relatives endure pain, many Alabamians have also watched a beloved pet suffer from this disease,” said Smith. “Animals and humans share many of the same cancers and what we learn in treating a tumor in a dog can teach us more about treating the same tumor in a person.”
Contact: Dr. Bruce Smith, 334/844-5587, email@example.com; or Janet McCoy, Communications and Marketing for the College of Veterinary Medicine, 334/844-3698, firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine
The country's seventh oldest veterinary college and the oldest in the South, Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the nation's preeminent institutions for research, teaching, diagnostics, and comprehensive medical care for animals. The mission of the college is to prepare individuals for careers of excellence in veterinary medicine, including private and public practice, industrial medicine, academics and research. The college has 125 faculty members and a current enrollment of 487 DVM and graduate students. Online: www.vetmed.auburn.edu.