Two research associates were promoted to assistant faculty members in the Clinical Research Division last month.
Dr. Antonio Bedalov, who has worked in Dr. Julian Simon's laboratory, conducts research to identify drugs that inhibit gene silencing, a process by which genes are shut off. Silencing has been implicated in certain types of leukemia, colon cancer and other diseases. In 2001, Bedalov discovered a chemical compound, splitomicin, which inhibits silencing in baker's yeast. He is now evaluating splitomicin and drugs like it for their therapeutic potential in cancer cells.
Dr. Derek Stirewalt, who has worked with Dr. Jerry Radich, develops highly sensitive tests to detect genetic abnormalities in patients with leukemia and to explore the molecular biology of the development of leukemia. Using such tests, Stirewalt has found genetic clues that predict the success or failure of treatment for acute myelogenous leukemia. The findings enable doctors to stratify patients into risk groups and select the most appropriate treatment for individual patients. In addition, he has recently begun using similar techniques to explore relationships between cancer and aging. The goal is to identify novel markers of cancer susceptibility that may be able to risk stratify patients before they develop cancer.
Both investigators are also attending physicians for transplant patients at the Alliance.