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TODAY news for Thursday, September 1, 2005

School of Medicine news

Hearst Foundation funds cancer research that may help customize patient treatment

The Hearst Foundation approved a $125,000 grant to James M. Slater, PhD, vice chair of radiation medicine and one of his co-investigators, Daila S. Gridley, PhD, professor, department of radiation medicine and department of biochemistry and molecular biology, School of Medicine, to research the development of a clinical test to identify cancer patients who may be hypersensitive to radiation. If such a test were available, it would be possible to customize radiation treatment for each patient.

“This test will help us, and the radiation treatment community at large, to identify those patients who may be able to receive higher dosages of radiation that may ensure that cancerous growths are obliterated without extraordinary adverse effects,” Dr. Slater explains. Similarly, the test will allow physicians to detect patients who should not receive large amounts of radiation.

Dr. Slater also mentions that previous research makes the development of this test look hopeful. “Development of this test seems feasible because of the manner in which each patient’s immune system, especially certain white blood cells known as T-lymphocytes, react to x-ray radiation,” he says.

The Hearst Foundation puts an emphasis on health care and is known for funding important research in several areas of health care. For many years, Loma Linda University has appreciated the Foundation’s funding for cancer treatment research.

“The Hearst Foundation takes its philanthropic role in combating cancer, at Loma Linda and other places in the United States, seriously,” notes Albin Grohar, PhD, executive director of advancement. “We are most grateful to the Foundation for its commitment to the work at the University’s Proton Treatment Center.”

TODAY news for Thursday, September 1, 2005