News from University of California, Irvine

UCI assistant professor of medicine receives MERIT grant from National Cancer Institute

Nick Pannunzio, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the UCI School of Medicine, has received a Method to Extend Research in Time Award from the National Cancer Institute. The seven-year grant will bring approximately $410,000 annually to fund his study into a particular acute lymphoblastic leukemia subtype called Philadelphia chromosome-like ALL, which disproportionately affects the Hispanic community. The study’s goal is to identify the chromosome rearrangement mechanisms that lead to Ph-like ALL, as well as to gain greater insight into the cancer health disparity that puts the Hispanic population at an elevated risk for this disease and leads to a poor response to current treatments. “We need to address this critical gap in both our understanding of the underlying processes and factors driving higher incidence and mortality rates in Hispanics,” Pannunzio said. “If we do not develop better processes to predict and diagnose Ph-like ALL, we will not be able to effectively serve a large portion of our Orange County community.”