Hutchinson Center Researcher to Receive Presidential Award for Colon Cancer Insights

SEATTLE — June 13, 2005 — Research that sheds new light into a mechanism that causes normal cells in the colon to become cancerous has resulted in a prestigious presidential award for a clinical investigator at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

William Grady, M.D., an assistant member of the Center's Clinical Research Division, and an attending physician at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, will be among 60 scientists to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Bush on June 13 in Washington, D.C. Grady, also a research associate at the Veteran's Administration Puget Sound Healthcare System, was nominated for the award by the Veterans Administration Office of Research and Development. In addition to the presidential citation, the VA will provide research funding of $25,000 per year for five years.

"I am honored to receive this award as it a statement from my peers regarding the importance of the work that we are doing in my lab," Grady said.

Grady was notified of the award in a letter from John H. Marburger III, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President. "Selection for this award is based on the combination of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and community service demonstrated through scientific leadership and community outreach," Marburger wrote. "Your accomplishments exemplify the talent and commitment this program is designed to recognize and promote."

Grady studies the mechanisms that cause normal cells in the colon to turn into cancer cells There are multiple processes occurring at the molecular level that cooperate to make this happen; Grady's lab is focused on the development of resistance to a potent tumor suppressor called transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β). TGF-β normally suppresses the growth of tumors, including colon cancer, and many colon cancers become resistant to its effects. A very common way colon cancers do this is by inactivating a receptor for TGF-β, called transforming growth factor beta receptor type II (TGFBR2).

"We have been studying the specific downstream events that happen inside a cell when the TGFBR2 receptor is inactivated," he said.

Grady, 39, joined the Hutchinson Center in 2004. He joined the VA faculty in Nashville, Tenn. in 2000 and subsequently received an Advanced Research Career Development Award there in 2002. He transferred his VA position and grant to Seattle.

The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, established in 1996, is the nation's highest honor for professionals at the outset of their independent-research careers. Eight federal departments and agencies, which annually nominate young scientists and engineers whose work is of greatest benefit to the nominating agency's mission, administer the awards. The nominating departments are the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs Research and Development, Department Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and NASA.

Editor's Note
A B&W photo of Dr. Grady is available by contacting Dean Forbes.

Media Contact
Dean Forbes
(206) 667-2896

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home of three Nobel laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical research to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. The Hutchinson Center receives more funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other independent U.S. research center. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the Center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. The Hutchinson Center, in collaboration with its clinical and research partners, the University of Washington and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is one of 40 nationwide. For more information, visit the Center's Web site at