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Cancer Research Foundation of America Funds Fellowship for Prevention Research at Fox Chase Cancer Center

PHILADELPHIA (February 3, 1999) -- The Cancer Research Foundation of America, located in Alexandria, Va., has funded a two-year, $60,000 fellowship at Fox Chase Cancer Center. The CRFA fellowship will help support cancer prevention research by postdoctoral fellow Dr. John Wilkinson IV, who lives in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia.

Wilkinson works in the Fox Chase laboratory of cell biologist Dr. Margie L. Clapper of Harleysville, Pa. A leading cancer prevention researcher, she has also received CRFA funding for research related to the prevention of colon cancer.

Work in Clapper's laboratory focuses on the drug oltipraz. In clinical studies at Fox Chase, this agent has shown promise in preventing cancers of the colon and lung among high-risk people. This approach to preventive health is known as chemoprevention(the use of natural or synthetic chemicals to prevent disease.

The chemical structure of oltipraz resembles that of natural compounds found in broccoli and similar vegetables. Both the natural and synthetic agents can stimulate protective enzymes that help cells detoxify harmful substances. Other detoxifying compounds known as antioxidants help regulate production of these enzymes.

During his CRFA fellowship, Wilkinson will pursue research on the molecular mechanisms responsible for the protective action of oltipraz. In particular, he will study the role of a key genetic control protein named Fos in enhancing an individual's response to antioxidants and increasing protective enzyme levels.

"This work will enhance our understanding of this vital process and help establish a better foundation for the design of more effective prevention agents," said Clapper.

Wilkinson earned his undergraduate degree in natural sciences, with honors in microbial ecology, at Simon's Rock Early College in Great Barrington, Mass., and his Ph.D. in microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine. Before receiving his doctoral degree in 1996, he won the School's prestigious Henry I. Russek Award for Student Achievement with a first prize in microbiology. He joined Clapper's laboratory as a postdoctoral associate fellowship in 1996.

The Cancer Research Foundation of America was founded in 1985 by its president, Carolyn R. Aldig. Since its inception, CRFA has provided funding to more than 200 scientists at more than 100 leading academic institutions across the country.
Through the Foundation's public education programs, thousands of men, women and children have received life-saving information about cancer, including early detection and prevention. When the Foundation began, cancer prevention was a neglected area, but today prevention research is booming and enormous gains are being made. The Cancer Research Foundation of America has played a crucial role in instigating these critical changes.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 35 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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