Home » Physician-Scientist at Texas Children’s Cancer Center Receives $486,000 grant to Advance Research in Childhood Cancer
Donald W. (Will) Parsons, M.D., a physician at Texas Children’s Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine, has been honored with a 2010 Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award. Dr. Parsons, who works in collaboration with Dr. Richard Gibbs at Baylor College of Medicine’s Human Genome Sequencing Center, specializes in the genomic analysis of brain tumors.
With this award, Parsons will focus on advancing his research in the development of large-scale (genomic) methods to identify and evaluate cancer-causing mutations in gliomas, one of the most deadly types of brain tumors. His goal is to rapidly identify genetic alterations that may serve as targets for new diagnostic tests and treatments.
Parsons is one of 12 physician-scientists nationally to receive this prestigious award, and will receive $486,000 over three years from The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Medical Research Program, to support his research studying pediatric brain tumors.
“It is truly an honor to receive this award,” says Parsons. “The sponsored research will provide urgently-needed information about the biology of pediatric gliomas, which we hope to translate into improved care for our patients. The award will also provide valuable support for the development of my research career as an independent physician-scientist scientist at Texas Children’s Cancer Center.”
Dr. Parsons’ work has resulted in the identification of numerous mutated genes and genetic pathways that contribute to tumor initiation and progression, providing a novel view of the genetic landscape of human cancers. For example, his analysis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most lethal brain tumor of both adults and children, for the first time identified mutation of the isocitrate dehydrogenase genes (IDH1 and IDH2) as a common and critical event in the development of gliomas. This discovery has opened a new and potentially clinically-useful area of brain tumor research. Further work evaluating the functional relation of these mutations to glioma development and the applicability of this finding for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes is ongoing.
“It’s wonderful that the research Dr. Parsons is conducting has been recognized and supported by this most prestigious and distinguished award,” says Dr. David Poplack, Director of Texas Children’s Cancer Center. “His work is essential in our long-term goal to finding a cure for brain tumors and we are thrilled that he has been honored with this award.”
Since 1998, the Doris Duke Medical Research Program has committed approximately $360 million to strengthen and support clinical research, which advances the translation of basic biomedical discoveries into new treatments, preventions and cures for human diseases. To learn more about the program or to receive competition announcements, visit www.ddcf.org/mrp
Dr. Parsons’ pediatric brain tumor research is also funded by the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, the Gillson-Longenbaugh Foundation, Golfers Against Cancer, the Hoglund Foundation, and the Ready-or-Not Foundation.
August 17, 2010
Texas Children’s Hospital
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