(WASHINGTON) – Jennifer E. Amengual, MD, and Marco L. Davila, MD, PhD, have been selected to receive the 2012 ASH-AMFDP Award to conduct research on the development of targeted therapies for the treatment of B-cell lymphoma and B-cell leukemia. This award, designed to help increase the number of underrepresented minority scholars in the field of hematology, is the result of a partnership between the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AMFDP) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It provides four years of support, including an annual stipend of up to $75,000 and an annual research grant of $30,000.
Dr. Amengual, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, will concentrate her research on targeting the Bcl-6: p53 pathway, critical in the development of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). As a physician-scientist, she aims to directly translate observations and concepts developed in the laboratory to patient care. Dr. Amengual is evaluating novel combinations of HDAC inhibitors and sirtuin inhibitors in preclinical models of lymphoma, looking for synergistic cell toxicity, studying the mechanism of action, and utilizing novel in vivo mouse models to evaluate efficacy and tolerability. She hopes to increase the cure rates for lymphoma by exploiting therapies targeted to the discrete signaling pathways known to cause the disease.
Dr. Amengual received her medical degree from New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York; she completed her residency at Montefiore Medical Center of the Albert Einstein College of edicine in New York and her fellowship at New York University.
Dr. Davila, an Assistant Attending Physician at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, is developing an effective T-cell therapy for B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (B-ALL). Dr. Davila and his team have developed genetically engineered T cells modified to express a T-cell receptor, which helps the T cells recognize and kill leukemia cells by targeting the CD19 antigen found on most B-cell tumors. He is currently assessing various modifications of the T cells in a mouse model of B-ALL. Dr. Davila’s ultimate goal is to evaluate an optimized T-cell therapy developed from this project in a clinical trial, which he hopes will lead to new therapeutic options for patients with lymphoid malignancies.
Dr. Davila received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, and completed his residency at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.
“The development of more effective, targeted therapies for B-cell malignancies requires a better understanding of the mechanisms behind these serious disorders, and the recipients of this year’s ASH-AMFDP Award are conducting exciting research that we hope will lead to new breakthroughs in this area,” said ASH President Armand Keating, MD, of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. “ASH is fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support these promising investigators.”
Reporters who wish to arrange an interview with Dr. Amengual or Dr. Davila may contact Claire Gwayi-Chore, ASH Communications Specialist, at 202-776-0544 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Society of Hematology is the world’s largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. The official journal of ASH is Blood, the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.
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