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Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Faculty Member Receives $353,400 Grant for Leukemia Research

COLCHESTER, VT -- (Marketwire) -- 01/28/13 -- Karen Glass, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences' Vermont Campus, has been awarded a three-year research grant totaling $353,400 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Glass will seek to identify new ways to prevent and treat a type of leukemia called Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

What is AML?
AML is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. In AML patients, cells that would typically develop into white blood cells, important for the immune system, grow at an abnormal rate, thereby interfering with the production of normal blood cells.

Research Project
Substances such as proteins regularly bind to our DNA, and in so doing, cause genes to be expressed or repressed (these binding substances are called "transcription factors"). The resulting series of interactions contribute to a range of bodily processes, one of which is the development of blood cells, including bone marrow cells.

Genetic mutations, however, can cause these cellular processes to break down. In AML, there is a mutation known as chromosomal translocation, where a chromosome breaks and incorrectly re-fuses to another chromosome.

Factors including environmental toxins, benzene exposure, and drugs used for chemotherapy may cause AML-related translocations, but in many cases, scientists are still unclear on the specific triggers. There is also much to be learned as to which specific combinations of gene mutations lead to AML and other forms of disease.

With support from students at the College, Dr. Glass will be studying the factors that regulate gene activity in AML and explore if these factors can be manipulated to treat or possibly prevent disease.

Quote from Dr. Glass
"There is no single factor, but rather a series of events, which leads to a disease such as AML," said Dr. Glass. "If we can better understand the basic mechanisms controlling gene expression and how chromosomal translocations lead to AML and other cancers, then we will be able to diagnose and treat AML patients more effectively. We may also be able to apply this knowledge in the treatment of other cancers and diseases."

The project described above is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15GM104865. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

About Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is a private, independent institution committed to graduating the best health care minds in the world. The College's Vermont Campus is located in Colchester and is home to the only pharmacy program in the state of Vermont. The school's main campus is located in Albany, New York. For more information, please visit www.acphs.edu.

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