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Massey investigator selected for the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s Clinical Research Mentoring Program

Feb 24, 2015

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The Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) has accepted VCU Massey Cancer Center researcher Victor Yazbeck, M.D., into its Clinical Research Mentoring Program (CRMP). The CRMP is a two-year program that selects up-and-coming lymphoma researchers to participate in educational courses, laboratory work and clinical studies in order to further their own research goals.

Through the program, Yazbeck, member of the Developmental Therapeutics research program and hematologist-oncologist at Massey, will work with a mentor to implement his own clinical trial. His study addresses the need for more successful therapeutic options for certain lymphoma patient subgroups that are resistant to chemotherapy, including those who have relapsed after a bone marrow transplant. Yazbeck’s previous research has shown the drugs panobinostat and buparlisib to be effective in inducing lymphoma cell death. Through his proposed phase 1 clinical trial, he hopes to determine the maximum tolerated dose, safety and toxicity of this drug combination.

The CRMP begins with a weeklong workshop in February. The participants will give presentations detailing the goals and methods of their proposed research studies, which their mentors will help to further develop during the course of the week.

After the opening workshop, participants will continue to work with their mentors to move their proposed studies from concept to reality. To aid in this goal, the CRMP provides participants a total of $10,000 in development funds by the end of the program in 2017. These funds will cover educational and travel expenses, allowing participants to travel to various conferences to network and establish collaborations with other lymphoma researchers.

Participants will also have an inside look at the LRF’s grant application review process. They will each receive three grant applications to evaluate by the same means as the LRF’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). They will then attend an SAB grant review meeting to compare their evaluations to those of the board members and to witness the rest of the grant review procedure. This exercise is designed to help participants be more effective in securing grant funding.

“I’m honored to have been chosen,” said Yazbeck, who is also an assistant professor of hematology at the VCU School of Medicine. “This program is an excellent opportunity to work with leaders in the field of lymphoma research. I’m hopeful that I can apply what I learn to enhance the lymphoma program at Massey.”

Steven Grant, M.D., associate director for translational research and co-leader of the Developmental Therapeutics research program at Massey, has worked closely with Yazbeck in the Developmental Therapeutics program and says he is very proud of his colleague.

“Victor will be an outstanding addition to this program,” said Grant, who is also Shirley Carter Olsson and Sture Gordon Olsson Chair in Cancer Research and member of the Cancer Cell Signaling program at Massey. “He has extraordinary drive, imagination and determination to succeed.”

Written by: John Wallace

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