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Researchers win grants

Upstate Foundation awards $50,000 for pediatric cancer research

The Upstate Foundation has awarded grants to two Upstate Medical University researchers to support their work on pediatric cancer.

Following a competitive grant application and evaluation process overseen by Upstate’s Pediatric Research Advisory Committee, chaired by Leonard Weiner, MD, vice chair of academic affairs, the Foundation is providing funding of $25,000 each for projects proposed by Jeffrey Amack, PhD, associate professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, and Jason Horton, PhD,assistant professor of Orthopedic Surgery.

The grants, made possible through an anonymous estate gift to the Upstate Foundation, honor September as Pediatric Cancer Awarness Month.

“We are pleased to help fund these projects,” said Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development at Upstate. “This generous and kind donor had an abiding interest in supporting both pediatric and adult oncology research. We’re proud to fulfill her wish and honor her memory in this way.”

 Amack’s research project, titled Regulation of cell proliferation by V-ATPase activity, seeks to better understand the role that the proton (H+) pump V-ATPase plays in controlling cell proliferation in multiple tumor types, including in several pediatric cancers.

Horton’s research initiative, entitled Treatment of tumor-associated osteolysis in Ewing sarcoma, will seek to determine if the antibiotic Mithramycin A (MithA) can mitigate tumor-associated osteolysis typical of the highly metastatic pediatric bone cancer, Ewing sarcoma.

“The funded projects were selected because they were exceedingly well-considered, well-structured, and quite feasible in terms of the results they seek to achieve,” said Weiner. “Additionally, the advisory committee has had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Amack devise, manage, and execute a previous research project. These two new efforts fall squarely into each researcher’s respective areas of expertise and experience.”

Those interested in learning more about these research projects are encouraged to contact Amack at amackj@upstate.edu and Horton at hortonj@upstate.edu

Caption: From left: Jeffrey Amack, PhD, associate professor of cell and developmental biology, and Jason Horton, PhD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery, have been awarded grants by the Upstate Foundation to further their work in pediatric cancer research.