September 17, 2012
1 min read

ASH-AMFDP Award honorees announced

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Jennifer E. Amengual, MD, and Marco L. Davila, MD, PhD, will 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.

The award, designed to help increase the number of minority scholars in the field of hematology, is the result of a partnership between the American Society of Hematology and the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It provides 4 years of support, including an annual stipend of up to $75,000 and an annual research grant of $30,000.

Amengual, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, will concentrate her research on targeting the Bcl-6: p53 pathway, critical in the development of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. 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.

Davila, an assistant attending physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, is developing an effective T-cell therapy for B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia. 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.

“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,” Armand Keating, MD, president of ASH, said in a press release.