ACS Aids Cornell Vet School Cancer Research

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Researchers studying the causes of cancer at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine will be aided by grants from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Robert E. Oswald, professor of pharmacology, received $166,000 in ACS funds for a two-year study, "Structure and Regulation of Cdc42Hs," while James W. Casey, associate professor of microbiology and immunology, was granted $90,000 for a two-year continuation of his study, "Development and Regression of a Retroviral Induced Sarcoma."

The Oswald study examines mutations in pathways used by growth-factor relay signals from the outside of cells to the cell nuclei, a process that underlies several forms of cancer, including leukemia and breast cancer. The study focuses on one protein, Cdc42Hs, that is a "biological switch" in growth-factor signaling pathways. By determining the three-dimensional structure of the switching protein, Cornell researchers hope to explain more about the signaling process and to aid in the identification of new drug targets.

The Casey study examines a complex retrovirus called walleye dermal sarcoma virus (WDSV) and the tumors it causes on the skin of fish. Because certain fish tumors grow and regress on a seasonal basis, the Cornell researchers are interested in WDSV in walleyes and in explaining how other cancer-related retroviruses interact with the immune systems of their hosts. The study could produce new information about how processes such as superinfection, viremia and immune responses are related to cancer in other animals, including humans.

The American Cancer Society is the largest private source of cancer research funds in the United States. To date, the society has invested more than $1.5 billion in cancer research. This is made possible through the generous support of people in the community who give to the local American Cancer Society fund-raising activities. In addition to supporting research projects such as those at

Contact: Roger Segelken
Cornell University News Service

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