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Ethan Dmitrovsky Receives ACS Clinical Research Honor

April 18, 2008

Ethan Dmitrovsky, MD, the Andrew Wallace Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, and co-director of the Cancer Epidemiology and Chemoprevention Research Program at Norris Cotton Cancer Center, has been named a Clinical Research Professor by the American Cancer Society. This honor, only awarded to two or three people each year, is the ACS's leading grant award, and it recognizes a researcher's contributions to science and to patient care, and supports their work in mentoring future generations of researchers.

 Ethan Dmitrovsky, MD

Ethan Dmitrovsky, MD

The multi-year grant will support Dmitrovsky's ongoing studies of innovative ways to treat and prevent lung cancer, the number one cause of cancer death for men and women in the United States.

"This is really recognition for my team and for Dartmouth," says Dmitrovsky. "We've made tremendous progress while I've been working here due to the collaborative efforts of my outstanding colleagues from Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Dartmouth Medical School, and Dartmouth College. Our team is now moving research findings in lung cancer from the laboratory bench into the clinic."

Dmitrovsky's team is particularly interested in retinoids, natural or synthetic compounds derived from vitamin A used in cancer therapy and prevention. This group has systematically chipped away at understanding the pathways and mechanisms of the retinoids and their effect on lung cancer biology and treatment.

"The research conducted by Ethan's laboratory has made major contributions to the development of targeted therapies now widely used in cancer treatment," says Mark Israel, MD, Director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. "He's doing important research, and he's a wonderful example of someone involved in translational research, where his findings are put to use treating patients."

Dmitrovsky describes his research as both translational and bi-directional. The latter refers to work moving discoveries made at the bench to the bedside, and then returning them back to the laboratory for refinement.

"This honor reflects Ethan's dedication to his work and to the community," says Dartmouth Medical School Dean Bill Green. "He is part of the team that provides contemporary cancer care to people in northern New England. This award from the ACS is well deserved."

Not only will the grant money support Dmitrovsky's laboratory, the award will also be used in Dmitrovsky's efforts to serve the broader cancer research and cancer survivor communities. For example, he serves on the board of scientific counselors of the National Cancer Institute and has been on the scientific advisory board of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

"This significant grant from the ACS means a great deal to me and my team. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance our research, put our findings to use in the clinic, and continue to serve the cancer community," says Dmitrovsky.

The American Cancer Society Research Professor and Clinical Research Professor grants are the most prestigious research awards made by the national program. These grants provide flexible funding for full-time investigators in mid-career who have made seminal contributions to cancer research and who will continue to provide leadership in their research area. The awards, for a period of five years with the possibility of one five-year renewal, are made through a highly competitive peer review process. Ordinarily, no more than two candidates in each category are appointed in any year. Only 25 Research Professors and 15 Clinical Research Professors are funded at any time.