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August 2008 Issue

Eileen Barrett, Allison Gordon, Harvey Harris were an integral part of the 2008 Ride Cincinnati event committee.
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Ride Cincinnati Yields $200,000 for UC Cancer Research

By Amanda Harper
Published August 2008

Cancer research initiatives at UC have received a major boost from Ride Cincinnati, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to generating funds for breast cancer research.

Ride Cincinnati recently presented the UC Barrett Cancer Center at University Hospital with a check for $200,000 raised at its second annual cycling event, known by the same name.

Nearly 1,200 people of all ages came out to pedal for a cure at the event, which was held June 1 at Yeatman’s Cove.

Funding will provide continued support to the Marlene Harris– Ride Cincinnati Breast Cancer Pilot Grant Program at UC, which was created in 2007 to increase local breast cancer research and encourage collaboration between basic science and clinical investigators.

“In two years, we’ve raised more than $330,000 for local cancer research efforts and that is the best way to honor Marlene’s memory,” says Harvey Harris, DDS, whose late wife inspired the event he founded in 2007.

“Through her 15 years of fighting breast cancer, Marlene remained dedicated to helping find a cure through research. We hope this money can serve as a catalyst for bringing together investigators who are able to translate laboratory findings into clinical interventions that benefit patients.”

The pilot grant program aims to award three to five grants to scientists annually, depending on the amount of money generated by the cycling event.

Sohaib Khan, PhD, professor of cancer and cell biology, and Glendon Zinser, PhD, assistant professor of surgery, were awarded the program’s initial grants in December 2007.

Khan is conducting a basic science study to develop novel antiestrogens in breast cancer. Zinser is exploring the role of vitamin D3 activation in adipocytes (fat cells) in breast cell development.

Two additional grants were awarded in June 2008 to Frederick Lucas, MD, of pathology, and Ruth Lavigne, MD, of radiation oncology.

Lucas will investigate the biology behind “triple negative” breast cancers in terms of clinical out- comes, treatment responses, epidemiology and possible therapeutic targets. Lavigne’s study will screen for depression and assess the psychosocial needs of patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer entering radiation treatment.

David Stern, MD, College of Medicine dean, says this funding provides much-needed support to give promising scientists a jumpstart on new cancer research ideas.

“We are thrilled with the Ride Cincinnati volunteer team’s outstanding efforts to raise funds in support of breast cancer research,” says Stern, who serves as interim director of the Barrett Cancer Center and vice president for health affairs at UC.

“Community support plays a critical role in filling the gaps in research funding and helps us continue pushing science forward.”

“There has been excitement among the scientists at UC about this program,” adds Susan Waltz, PhD, co-scientific director for the joint cancer program.

“The cancer center received a large number of highly competitive grant applications during the first year of this pilot grant program.”

The Barrett Cancer Center is part of a joint cancer program involving the UC College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and University Hospital.

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