The Jess and Mildred Fisher Center for Familial Cancer Research recently awarded two $20,000 pilot grants for research on cancer to Georgetown University Medical Center professors Peter Shields and Mitchell Jung.

The grants are designed to fund innovative but basic science, clinical, epidemiological or behavioral research projects that epitomize the goals of the Fisher Center. Applications that address ethical and health policy issues were also considered.

Jung, a research assistant professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology, received the grant for his efforts to study the role of PARP-1 on DNA damage response and repair, specifically on BRCA mutant cells.

“Our laboratory has been focusing on characterizing the cellular and molecular functions of ADP-ribosylation,” Jung said. “Therefore, our current study fits well with the aims of the Jess and Mildred Fisher Cancer Research, and it did not take much time to narrow down the research topic.”

According to Jung, the process for obtaining the funding took about two months, and his research will span a year to a year and a half.

Shields, a professor in the department of oncology and medicine and deputy director of the Lombardi Cancer Center and vice chair of the department of oncology, is researching the radical procedure known as prophylactic oophorectomy, which is when both healthy ovaries are surgically removed in women who are at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

The surgery has a high morbidity, increasing risk for premature death, heart disease, decreased cognitive functioning and osteoporosis. Shields’ research proposes to assess the metabolome (a network of that includes intermediates and products of metabolism as well as hormones) before and after surgery to locate and specify hormonally related metabolites that could predict unfavorable effects to oophoreectomy.

Applications for the pilot funding for 2011 will be available sometime this fall. Faculty members of any level are eligible to apply as well as postdoctoral students.”

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