The Wisconsin Partnership Program’s Partnership Education and Research Committee awarded the following New Investigator Program grants in 2010:

Clinical and Public Health Data Exchange: Estimating Asthma Prevalence Across Wisconsin

Theresa W. Guilbert, MD, MS, Pediatrics
Award: $100,000

This project seeks to improve understanding of asthma prevalence in Wisconsin counties by using electronic medical records data to locate high-risk pockets within the state. Currently, this data is tracked at the state and national levels, but provides limited information for counties and cities. By linking this information to census data, more accurate estimates of asthma prevalence can be predicted. Community organizations, researchers, health care providers and policymakers will be able to design and direct education and interventions in high-risk neighborhoods.

Cystic Fibrosis MRI: Tracking Lung Function and Response to Therapy

Scott K. Nagle, MD, PhD, Radiology
Award: $100,000

The proposal aims to improve the treatment of cystic fibrosis, a genetic lung disease, by developing a safe and effective test to detect early changes in lung function without the risks of radiation exposure. Many drug therapies are in development, but current diagnostic methods cannot capture early changes in lung function, and some carry a high radiation risk. The goal of this project is to use MRI technology, which has no radiation risk, to develop means of testing emerging therapies and treating individual patients.

Nuclear EGFR and Breast Cancer: Strategies for Increasing Efficacy of Anti-EGFR Based Therapies in Breast Cancer

Deric L. Wheeler, PhD, Human Oncology
Award: $100,000

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) frequently is overexpressed in breast cancer. Many of these tumors demonstrate resistance to the EGFR-targeting antibody, cetuximab. Recent research suggests nuclear EGFR may be one factor in resistance to cetuximab, and that a family of kinases (Src) helps EGFR move from the cell membrane to the nucleus. This project seeks to determine if blocking the kinases using the inhibitor dasatinib can prevent the process, keeping EGFR on the membrane where it is more susceptible to cetuximab.