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2017: Two honors and an NIH grant, all in the name of kidney cancer research

This year has been the type of year any researcher would want.

For Mehdi Mollapour, PhD, assistant professor and head of the renal cancer biology section in the Department of Urology, the year has been marked by success and recognition.

Late this summer he was awarded a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further his research aimed at dissecting the regulatory mechanisms of Hsp90 in kidney cancer.

Earlier in the year, Mollapour was named a Research Scholar by the American Urologic Association. The program supports outstanding investigators with grant money to support their research.

And on Nov. 10, he will pick up the Young Investigator Award from the Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR) at its annual meeting in Tampa, Fla. The highly competitive award—no more than three individuals are honored annually—recognizes the significant contributions to urologic research from a distinguished investigator.

“This is a huge honor and obviously I am ecstatic about this hat-trick. These awards are not only recognizing my career achievement, but also all the efforts of my research group. Mollapour also credits Urology Chair Gennady Bratslavsky, MD, for creating “a supportive environment that enables us to carry out collaborative research in areas vital to our health.”

Bratslavsky called Mollapour’s work “transformational and game changing that gives hopes to many with kidney cancers and other types of tumors. Having such scientists, like Dr. Mollapour, and research at Upstate is what distinguishes our University from other hospitals and health care systems.”

Mollapour, who has 20 years of experience in cancer biology, is known for his work that focuses on understanding and targeting the guardian of cancer called Heat Shock Protein-90 or Hsp90, which is essential to kill and halt the growth of cancer cells. Mollapour’s work on Hsp90 and related topics has been published in 65 high profile scientific journals, such as Nature Communications, Molecular Cell, EMBO J, and Cell Reports.

His research into possible treatments for kidney cancer is important as the cancer is known to be resistant to current chemotherapy and radiation.

Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers in both men and women. According to the American Cancer Society, the rate of kidney cancer has risen steadily since the 1990s, only to level off in recent years. It is a cancer most associated with people over the age of 65. About 61,000 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year, with about 14,000 people dying from the disease. The most common form of kidney care is renal cell carcinoma.

For more information on Mollapour’s work, go to Mollapour Lab.

Caption: Mehdi Mollapour, PhD, is assistant professor and head of the renal cancer biology section in the Department of Urology at Upstate.

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