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Masonic Cancer Center receives $26M for research to benefit people with blood and bone marrow cancers

Two leading physician-scientists at the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center (MCC) have won major grants totaling almost $26 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Philip McGlave, M.D.Philip McGlave, M.D., and Jeffrey Miller, M.D., received word about their renewed five-year program project research grants this fall.

They’ll use the funding to lead research teams focused on increasing the availability, safety, and effectiveness of hematopoietic stem cell transplants and cell therapies. Their work likely will improve treatment and survival for the thousands of patients diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and other blood and bone marrow disorders every year.

The University has been a consistent national leader in stem cell transplant research and treatment. Stem cell transplantation was pioneered at the University with the world’s first successful donor transplant for a malignant lymphoma patient here in 1975.

McGlave, MCC deputy director, has received NCI funding to lead his stem cell research program for the past 15 years. His renewed funding of more than $12.6 million will allow him to continue years 16 through 20 of his team’s research, focusing on further improving stem cell transplantation and cell-based treatments.

Jeffrey Miller, M.D.Miller, associate director of the MCC’s Experimental Therapeutics Program, and his team received more than $13.3 million to fund years six through 10 of their research on characterizing disease-fighting natural killer (NK) cells to reduce leukemia patients’ relapse rates after transplantation.

Part of Miller’s grant will fund a clinical trial focused on using a relatively simple form of genetic analysis to help choose the best blood and marrow donors for leukemia patients based on favorable NK cell receptor genes. Learn more in the fall issue of the Medical Bulletin.

University researchers will work on these grants with experts at the National Institutes of Health and at more than a dozen cancer research centers throughout the United States.

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