UH Manoa scientist wins prestigious Landon Prize for International Collaboration in Cancer Research

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Tina Shelton, 692-0897
Communications Director
Sharon Shigemasa, 586-3011
Public Information Officer
Posted: Apr 14, 2008

The American Association for Cancer Research has announced that the 2008 Landon Foundation-AACR Innovator Award for International Collaboration in Cancer Research has been won by a team of researchers led by Dr. Michele Carbone (M.D., Ph.D), Director of the Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi Thoracic Oncology Program and Chair of Pathology at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

The award provides a two-year, $100,000 grant to support the work of promising cancer researchers.

Carbone‘s team of experts in genetics, thoracic oncology, geology and pathology has discovered a unique mesothelioma epidemic in three Turkish villages. They have demonstrated that the epidemic is caused by an interaction between a human gene and the environment. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer where malignant cells develop in the protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs.

Carbone and colleagues have identified that exposure to erionite, a mineral fiber, is the likely cause of the epidemic. They have reduced exposure to that mineral fiber throughout the villages. They will use the AACR Innovator grant to identify the predisposing gene or genes for mesothelioma among this ethnic group and map the genetic risk factors by genetic linkage studies.

Findings from this research have implications far beyond the villages in Turkey. They can be applied to other geographic areas and communities worldwide, with the goal of preventing this deadly form of cancer or finding new life-saving interventions and treatments.

The award supports highly meritorious research being conducted collaboratively by investigators in different countries around the world, and aims to promote international cancer research collaboration as an effective means to accelerate progress against cancer by providing the necessary support to sustain and enhance such collaborations.

Dr. Carbone‘s team includes Haining Yang, Ph.D., of the University of Hawaiʻi. Also on the team: Nancy Cox, Ph.D., and Ian Steele, Ph.D., University of Chicago; Harvey Pass, M.D., NYU School of Medicine and Clinical Cancer Center; Joseph Testa, Ph.D., Fox Chase Cancer Center; Y. Izzetin Baris, M.D., University of Hacettepe in Ankara, Turkey; A. Umran Dogan, Ph.D., University of Iowa; and Salih Emri, M.D., and Murat Tuncer, M.D., Hacettepe University School of Medicine in Ankara, Turkey.

"International collaborations are essential to addressing the cancer problem on a global scale. To ensure continued progress in conquering cancer, researchers must be willing to share resources and technologies, lend expertise and communicate new concepts, perspectives and methodologies to the worldwide cancer community," said Margaret Foti, M.D., Ph.D., AACR‘s chief executive officer.

"The work of Dr. Carbone and his team illustrates a commitment to all of these goals and it is a pleasure to recognize him and his team by providing much needed support for promising research that spans two continents," Foti said.

Dr. Carbone will receive the award during the Opening Ceremony of the AACR Annual Meeting on Sunday, April 13, 2008, at 8:15 a.m., in Hall G-H of the San Diego Convention Center.

For complete award citations, biographies and photos of award winners, contact Jennifer Ryan in the AACR Department of Communications and Public Relations: 267-646-0558; jennifer.ryan@aacr.org.