Dr. Cassian Yee, an investigator in the Clinical Research Division, is the recipient of a Cancer Research Fund/Lilly Clinical Investigator Award from the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Foundation.
The five-year grant of almost $1 million will provide salary and research funds for studies on adoptive T-cell therapy of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.
T-cell therapy is a technique that involves transfusing a patient with immune cells - T-lymphocytes - that can recognize a protein marker produced by tumor cells.
Yee's research, in collaboration with Drs. Phil Greenberg and Stanley Riddell, focuses on several tumor markers, including one known as MART-1, produced by melanoma cells. Preliminary studies have shown that T-cells specific for MART-1 can target and destroy melanoma cells.
The Damon Runyon-Walther Winchell Foundation provides funds for outstanding young investigators in cancer research. Dr. Hootie Warren, also of the Clinical Research Division, received the same award last year.