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Cihangir Duy Receives V Scholar Award to Study Role of DNA Methylation in ‘Dormant’ Leukemia Cells

December 1, 2021

Cihangir Duy, PhD, MS, an assistant professor in the Cancer Signaling and Epigenetics Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, awarded two-year V Scholar Award.Cihangir Duy, PhD, MS, an assistant professor in the Cancer Signaling and Epigenetics Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, awarded two-year V Scholar Award.

PHILADELPHIA (December 1, 2021)—Cihangir Duy, PhD, MS, an assistant professor in the Cancer Signaling and Epigenetics Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, has been awarded a two-year V Scholar Award of $200,000. This grant will fund research into how certain acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells can reinitiate leukemia after chemotherapy.

“I’m grateful to the V Foundation for their support of our research,” said Duy, who is also a member of the Cancer Epigenetics Institute at Fox Chase. “The V Scholar Award will help us to advance our understanding of how DNA methylation functions in AML relapse and define new therapeutic targets.”

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator.

During his postdoctoral research, Duy observed that while most active AML cells are killed during chemotherapy, some leukemia cells can outmaneuver cancer therapy by entering dormancy. This dormant state showed signs of cellular senescence, a condition where cells lose their ability to grow.

Duy observed that senescence-like leukemia cells are able to exit dormancy after cancer therapy, thus causing leukemia relapse. He further found that leukemia cells entering and exiting this senescence-like state undergo certain epigenetic changes including DNA methylation.

This grant will support research into investigating the role of DNA methylation in senescence-like leukemia cells and the effectiveness of targeting DNA methylation as a therapeutic strategy.

Duy believes that inhibition of senescence pathways is crucial to impair survival of cancer cells after chemotherapy and will lead to improved remission rates of patients.

The V Foundation’s grant-making model ensures the most promising cancer research projects at state-of-the-art facilities around the country are funded. Cancer research grants are awarded to innovative researchers with the most cutting-edge ideas on how to improve cancer diagnosis methods, prevent cancer recurrences, or fight cancer.

The Hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center and its affiliates (collectively “Fox Chase Cancer Center”), a member of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence five consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

 

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