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CVMBS Cancer Biology Group Receives $9.7 million Grant from NASA for Radiation Studies
The Cancer Biology Group, housed within the Department of Environmental
and Radiological Health Sciences, announced that it is the recipient of
a competitive grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The five-year, $9.7 million grant will help researchers develop a better
understanding of the radiation risks to astronauts during deep-space travel
and prolonged stays in space. The group is partnering with research teams
at the M.D. Anderson Cancer in Houston and the Baylor College of Medicine,
also in Houston.
NASA has funded three new centers that focus on 1) the basic science of radiation exposure in space; 2) cancer risk associated with exposure to radiation in space; and 3) effects of radiation exposure on the central nervous system. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which has affiliate faculty with the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, received the basic science grant.
Researchers at CSU will develop animal and cell models, and new research approaches, to identify exactly what genetic changes are involved in the development of cancers in animals in cases of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), one of the most common types of radiation-induced leukemia. AML arises in a bone marrow stem cell that is the precursor to the granulocytes and megakaryocytes. In addition to basic research on AML, one focus of the project will be to develop a "humanized" mouse that contains human bone marrow stem cells harvested from umbilical cords. By using human cells in an animal model, researchers will be better able to determine the exact risks of prolonged radiation exposure to astronauts.
"We are very excited to receive this grant," said Dr. Ullrich. "The research that we will be able to undertake is truly innovative. But I have to say that what made it possible for us to even apply for this grant was the University's and College's investment in our program in terms of the development and recruitment of new faculty and researchers. Without that, I don't think this would have been possible."
The Cancer Biology Group is one of 14 Colorado State University Programs of Research and Scholarly Excellence, one of five such programs located within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.