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AMC Scientist Receives Research Grant from the American Cancer Society
   August 1, 2005


            ALBANY, N.Y., August 1, 2005 — A scientist at Albany Medical College has been awarded a $719,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to study the effects of a combination therapy designed to combat the growth of cancerous tumors while protecting the heart from damaging toxicity levels.

            Rebecca Keller, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Center for Cardiovascular Sciences at the Medical College, is seeking to combine the chemotherapy agent doxorubicin (adriamycin)—a widely used and effective chemotherapy treatment for lymphomas, leukemia, and solid tumors such as breast and prostate cancer—with resveratrol, a natural compound found in grapes and red wine that is known to have protective cardiac properties during myocardial infarctions.  Studies have also shown that the compound helps to inhibit the growth of breast cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer and prostate cancer cells. 

            “This grant aims to understand the mechanisms of resveratrol in protecting the heart to determine whether it could be useful in defending against doxorubicin-induced damage,” said Keller.  “Once understood, we may be able to provide a combination therapy that can effectively combat cancer while eliminating the life-threatening side effects that result from this effective but highly toxic chemotherapeutic agent.”

            When used in high dose, doxorubicin can cause a dose-related chronic toxicity which results in heart failure in 7 to 20 percent of patients.  Resveratrol, a natural antioxidant, has proven beneficial when used in models of ischemic injury to the heart. Cardiac tissue, which normally has low antioxidant activity, when boosted with resveratrol allows the heart to be protected against oxygen toxicity or oxygen-free radical damage.

            “The American Cancer Society is dedicated to funding some of the most dynamic and cutting-edge research in the nation and we’re proud to support Dr. Keller’s work right here in the Capital Region,” said Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, regional vice president of the American Cancer Society. “Our hope is that her work will lead to a better way of treating cancer and ultimately save lives.”

            The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 17 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit

            Albany Medical Center is northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center. It consists of Albany Medical College, Albany Medical Center Hospital; and the Albany Medical Center Foundation, Inc. Additional information about Albany Medical Center can be found at .

            For more information, please contact Nicole Pitaniello, assistant vice president for public relations, at 262-3421 or .

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