SHRO signs agreement with Temple to continue biomedical research

06/07/05

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) has reached an agreement with Temple University to continue funding the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine in Temple's College of Science and Technology (CST).

The agreement, which went into effect March 1, will collectively bring in more than $1 million in support for the Sbarro Institute, located on the Temple main campus in the Biology-Life Sciences building.

SHRO is an independent charitable organization that was founded in 1993 by Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D. and Mario Sbarro, owner of the international restaurant chain Sbarro's. SHRO (http://www.shro.org) originally entered into a three-year partnership with Temple in 2002 to fund the Sbarro Institute.

"I'm very excited about the continuation of this partnership between Sbarro and Temple," said Giordano, director of the Sbarro Institute, who also is a professor of biology and co-director of the Center for Biotechnology at Temple. "The first three years at Temple were exceptional in terms of working with my colleagues at the University and the administration's support in promoting our efforts in biomedical research."

Under the new agreement, the Sbarro Institute will expand its research enterprise with the launch of a new program in molecular therapeutics. The program will be headed by the Sbarro Institute's Pier Paolo Claudio, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of biology and a member of the Center for Biotechnology.

"Our vision is to develop novel therapeutic approaches to combat a wide range of human diseases by taking advantage of the insights of bench top research and translating molecular genetic techniques to the patients' bedsides," Claudio said.

The molecular therapeutics program is the second new program to be launched by the Sbarro Institute within the past six months. Eva Surmacz, Ph.D., who joined Temple in November as an associate professor of biology and member of the Center for Biotechnology, is heading a new research program in obesity and cancer.

The Sbarro agreement is the latest in the growth of support for the research enterprise at Temple, particularly in the College of Science and Technology. Over the past four years research funding in CST has increased over 60 percent, from $10.5 million in fiscal year 2001 to $16.3 million in fiscal year 2004.

"The Sbarro Health Research Organization is a key participant in basic biomedical research on Temple's Main Campus," said Allen Nicholson, Ph.D., acting dean of the College of Science and Technology. "I am enthusiastic about the prospects of expanding SHRO's research activities in the areas of molecular therapeutics and the relationship between obesity and cancer. I fully expect the college to be an effective partner in these initiatives."

"The creation of the new molecular therapeutics program is another sign of the Sbarro Institute's growth," says Giordano. "But our future goals will be to strengthen other programs, so we are discussing with Dean Nicholson other opportunities to create medical research links with other departments in the College of Science and Technology."

Giordano is credited with discovering the tumor-supressing gene Rb2/p130, as well as two other genes, CDK9 (cyclin-dependent kinase) and CDK10 (PISSLRE), which are considered major guardians of the human genome, and more recently Novel Structure Proteins, a new family of genes that could serve as potential tumor markers.

He and other the scientists in the Sbarro Institute have conducted research that has led to new technologies for diagnosing lung, ovarian, endometrial, breast and brain tumors, as well as lymphomas. Their work and other SHRO-funded research has been published in more than 200 articles appearing in internationally acclaimed scientific journals.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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