Contact: Susan Preston
At UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Dr. Peter Cole Receives Damon Runyon-Lilly Clinical Investigator
Dr. Peter D. Cole, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University
of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-Robert Wood Johnson
Medical School, is a recipient of the prestigious 2003 Damon Runyon-Lilly
Clinical Investigator Award.
Presented by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, the
five-year $1 million grant will fund Dr. Cole's clinical research,
whose goal is to increase the cure rate and decrease the toxicity
of chemotherapy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia
(ALL), the most common childhood cancer.
"Dr. Cole's clinical research offers tremendous promise to children
with leukemia," said Dr. Harold L. Paz, dean of the UMDNJ- Robert
Wood Johnson Medical School. "We are pleased that the Damon Runyon
Cancer Research Foundation has recognized the potential of his
work with this award.
"Dr. Cole's research is an outstanding example our commitment
to providing exceptional and progressive treatment to our patients,"
said Dr. William Hait, director of The Cancer Institute of New
Jersey and associate dean for oncology at the medical school.
Founded by Walter Winchell in 1946, The Damon Runyon Cancer
Research Foundation, supports young physician-scientists conducting
patient-oriented cancer research. Dr. Cole is one of only five
honorees in the entire country.
Dr. Cole is working with his mentor, Dr. Barton Kamen, chief
of pediatric hematology/oncology at both The Cancer Institute
of New Jersey and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, on
testing the ability of dextromethorphan, a common component in
many cough syrups, to prevent the short-term side effects (seizures,
headaches, malaise) and long-term side effects (learning disabilities,
neurological damage) of chemotherapy treatment for young patients
He is also working on reducing the side effects of chemotherapy
by replacing methotrexate with its ancestor, aminopterin , both
of which are chemotherapy agents that work by antagonizing the
effects of the vitamin folic acid.
"We are the first to use aminopterin, in place of methotrexate,
as part of a multi-agent therapy for children with leukemia,"
Dr. Cole said. "Our hope is that with lower doses, therapy will
be easier and produce fewer side effects in children."