The Wisconsin Partnership Program’s Partnership Education and Research Committee awarded the following New Investigator Program grants in 2011:

Personalizing Therapy of Women with Polyploid Breast Cancers

Mark Burkard MD, PhD, Medicine
Award: $100,000 over two years

This study will explore ways to improve treatment of "polyploid" breast cancers - those in which cancer cells have extra chromosomes. At least 20 percent of breast cancers have such extra chromosomes and the prognosis for these patients is poor. Burkard's research group recently discovered a chemical that selectively destroys human cells that have double chromosomes and this research aims to develop a breast cancer treatment that can be reserved for cancers with extra chromosomes.

Screening for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in African Americans

Carey Gleason, PhD, Medicine
Award: $100,000 over two years

This study will investigate why older African Americans are not treated for Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment in their early stages. Older African Americans are nearly twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease as older white Americans are. Investigators will look at racial differences in how mild memory loss is perceived and managed by older adults, their families and primary caregivers, and identify barriers to receiving early medical attention for memory loss.

Rational Molecular Multi-targeting in Lung Cancer Treatment

Grant discontinued by Partnership Education and Research Committee

Kevin Kozak, MD, PhD, Human Oncology
Award: $100,000 over two years

This study is using nanomedicine - a combination of multiple drugs - to combat the poor prognosis of lung cancer patients. Lung cancer is a significant public health issue in Wisconsin with rates significantly higher among African Americans and Native Americans. In collaboration with UW School of Pharmacy Professor Glen Kwon, Kozak is testing a new nanomedicine designed to slow or stop the progression and metastasis of lung cancer by simultaneously targeting several critical molecular features of the disease.