Hematology/Oncology Professor Wins National Award for Cancer Drug Discovery

Dr. Daruka Mahadevan receives Harrington Scholar-Innovator Award for a novel class of cancer drugs and radiation sensitizers targeting NHEJ DNA repair.

Pictured right, Dr. Mahadevan addresses an audience about clinical trials at the UA Cancer Center at an open house held in July 2016 at the Peter and Paula Fasseas Cancer Clinic, 3838 N. Campbell Ave.

Daruka Mahadevan, MD, PhD, a University of Arizona professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, director of Phase I Program, co-director of Experimental Therapeutics and a Margaret E. and Fenton L. Maynard Endowed Fund in Breast Cancer Translational Research scholar at the UA Cancer Center, was named a 2017 recipient of the Harrington Scholar-Innovator Awards.

Dr. Mahadevan is one of 11 physician-scientists to receive the award as part of the announcement in mid-January by Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland. The institute is part of the Harrington Project for Discovery & Development. The awards support breakthrough discoveries of researchers whose work shows promise to advance the standard of health care.

Dr. Mahadevan is a recognized structure-based expert in drug discovery and acclaimed drug developer in early phase therapeutic trials in Hematology and Oncology. His laboratory, in collaboration with assistant professor Eric Weterings, PhD, and associate research professor Josef Vagner, PhD, has discovered and developing a small molecule inhibitor to Ku70/80, a key protein in non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) DNA Repair. This is a new class of drugs that can sensitize cancer cells to current standard of care modalities including radiation therapy. As a Harrington Scholar, he will have access to several rounds of capital, up to a total of $700,000 to support the transition of his work into the private sector.

In addition to financial support, the Institute provides direction from leaders in the pharmaceutical industry who are charged with overseeing therapeutic development of Scholar programs.

The Division of Hematology and Oncology is a unit of the UA Department of Medicine, which is the largest department within the UA College of Medicine – Tucson with more than 200 faculty-physicians, 130 resident physicians in training in internal medicine and 70 fellow physicians in advanced training for all of its subspecialties from Cardiology to Rheumatology, as well as translational research in genetics, genomics and precision medicine.

Learn more about Dr. Mahadavan and his research program on his UA Cancer Center profile page.

Read about other winners of this award in the Harrington Institute announcement here [PDF].

“Dozens Show for Cancer Center Clinical Trials Presentation” | Posted Aug. 2, 2016
“Host of New Department of Medicine Hires Named, More to Come” | Posted June 9, 2016
“UA Cancer Center Awarded $360K from American Cancer Society for Research 'Seed' Grants” | Posted May 31, 2016

Release Date: 
02/03/2017 - 8:30am
Original Story: