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tiFox Chase Cancer Center Cell Biologist Thomas Coleman Named V Foundation Scholar

PHILADELPHIA (August 18, 1998) -- Dr. Thomas R. Coleman of Jenkintown, Pa., a cell biologist in Fox Chase Cancer Center's basic science division, has been named a V Foundation Scholar. The Foundation, based in Cary, N.C., has awarded Coleman a $100,000, two-year grant to pursue his research on how cells determine when conditions are suitable for dividing into two cells.

Coleman, who joined the Center last year, focuses on a fundamental control point in cellular division: how DNA is replicated in an accurate, orderly and timely fashion. He has characterized a protein, Cdc6, that controls when cells begin to duplicate their genetic material. His V Foundation grant will fund a series of experiments designed to learn how the protein functions and how it is regulated during cell division.

"Since unregulated cellular division is one of the hallmarks of cancer, these studies have immediate relevance to basic cancer research," Coleman said. "Understanding the process of DNA replication may identify new targets for cancer therapy."

In understanding the biochemistry of cell division and normal growth, a long-term goal of his studies is to provide a basis for designing drugs that specifically slow or stop cell division in cancerous tissue.

"Dr. Coleman is a creative young investigator whose research should produce discoveries of significant impact on both science and medicine," said Fox Chase president Dr. Robert C. Young. "The support of the V Foundation at this critical stage will accelerate his career development."

Coleman earned his B.A. in biology summa cum laude from Dartmouth College and completed his Ph.D. in biology at Yale University in 1988. Yale awarded him its John Spangler Nicholas Prize for the outstanding doctoral candidate in experimental zoology.

He began postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology with a three-year fellowship from the Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Fund. He also held fellowships from Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories and the National Institutes of Health while he served as a senior research fellow at Caltech from 1991 to 1997.

Named for North Carolina State University basketball coach James T. Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993, the V Foundation funds young investigators doing cutting-edge research. Since 1994, the Foundation has awarded more than $4 million in grants to 34 V Foundation Scholars. Another Fox Chase researcher, Dr. Hong Yan of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., was chosen in 1997.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 34 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center's activities include basic and clinical research; prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach programs.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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