American Cancer Society funds two IU Simon Cancer Center research projects to improve responses to therapy

  • Sept. 13, 2018

Two Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center researchers will continue studies on pancreatic cancer and muscle weakness caused by chemotherapy as recipients of four-year grants from the American Cancer Society.

The ACS awarded the grants to Janaiah Kota, PhD, assistant professor of medical and molecular genetics at IU School of Medicine, and Andrea Bonetto, PhD, assistant professor of surgery at IU School of Medicine. Both investigators are members of the Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis research program at the IU Simon Cancer Center. They each received a grant of $792,000.

Dr. Kota’s research will focus on a specific molecule that is significantly lost in disease state and abundantly preset in a normal pancreas and may be a potential therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer, which is one of the most lethal of all cancers. Pancreatic cancer is projected to be the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States by 2030. This form of cancer has few early-stage symptoms. It usually goes undiagnosed until it has spread and the resulting tumors are resistant to all forms of existing drug treatments.

Dr. Bonetto’s research seeks to reduce the complications from anti-cancer therapies and aims to help patients tolerate chemotherapy drugs better. Chemotherapy is frequently responsible for mild to severe side effects in many patients. Among those side effects is a syndrome called cachexia, which causes weight loss, muscle wasting and weakness. No treatment currently exists for cachexia and what causes it in some patients and not others is unknown.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States. In addition to delivering breakthroughs, the society is attacking cancer from every angle by offering free services that increase access to care like lodging near treatment and free transportation to treatment, providing a 24/7/365 live helpline to connect people to support resources and trusted information, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact to ensure cancer is a national priority.

Andrea Bonetto, PhD, (left) and Janaiah Kota, PhD, are recipients of grants from the American Cancer Society.

Andrea Bonetto, PhD, (left) and Janaiah Kota, PhD, are recipients of grants from the American Cancer Society.

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Michael Schug