NIH renews funding for continued Rb2 tumor suppressing gene research at Temple

07/27/04

Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, and co-director of the Center for Biotechnology in Temple University's College of Science and Technology, has been awarded a five-year, $1.68 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue his exploration of the role the tumor suppressing gene Rb2/p130 plays in cancer. An internationally recognized researcher in the genetics of cancer and gene therapy, Giordano discovered Rb2/p130 in the early 1990s while serving as a member of Temple's School of Medicine faculty and as a researcher at the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology.

Over the past decade, Giordano and the other researchers at the Sbarro Institute (http://www.shro.org) have been able to establish a link between Rb2 and its expression with the regression of cancer in the lungs, the aggression of cancer in the liver and ovaries, the effectiveness of drug therapies against breast cancer, and as a potential prognosticator of prostate cancer.

"The grant from NIH is recognition of our hard and creative work on Rb2/p130 over the past 12 years," says Giordano. "With this funding, we will be able to attain a more in-depth understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind Rb2 and how it functions, as well as design therapies that will allow us to one day deliver Rb2/p130 quickly and safely into cancer patients."

In addition to Rb2/p130, Giordano also discovered two other genes in 1992, CDK9 (cyclin-dependent kinase) and CDK10 (PISSLRE), major guardians of the human genome. CDK9 has proved to be multi-functional, with the discovery of its important roles in cell differentiation, HIV transcription and tumorigenesis.

The author of more than 200 published articles, Giordano has done pioneering work in the fields of cell cycle, gene therapy and the genetics of cancer, paving the way to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies leading to a cure for ovarian, endometrial and brain cancers. His research is funded by several NIH grants, as well as by individual and program project grants and by the Sbarro Health Research Organization.

Since 1992, Giordano has been awarded nine patents. Six additional patents have been filed and currently are under examination. Furthermore, he has received international recognition on several occasions, including being awarded the Irving J. Selikoff Award for Cancer Research and the Rotary International Award, Lions Club Napoli-Europa, for outstanding achievements in the field. He also has been honored as Knight by the President of the Republic of Italy for outstanding achievements in cancer research.

A native of Naples, Italy, Giordano earned his medical degree summa cum laude from the University of Naples in 1986 and his doctorate in pathology summa cum laude from the University of Trieste Medical School in 1990. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the department of microbiology and immunology at New York Medical College in Valhalla (N.Y.) from 1987 to 1988. From 1988 –to 1992, he was a post-doctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (N.Y.), which was led by James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA structure and the father of modern genetics.

Giordano serves on the editorial boards of numerous leading professional journals, including Frontiers in Bioscience, the Journal of Cancer Biology and Therapy, the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry and the Journal of Cellular Physiology, of which he is editor and reviews editor.

His other professional activities include grant reviewer for the American Cancer Society and the NIH's National Cancer Institute; external reviewer for evaluating research programs for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and ad hoc reviewer for National Science Foundation and Veterans Administration grant programs. Over the past eight years, he has been an invited lecturer at more than 100 scientific meetings worldwide.

In addition to his work with the Sbarro Institute, Giordano collaborates with several prestigious institutions throughout Europe and has trained more than 160 scientists and physician investigators from all over the world.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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