The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center has announced awards totaling more than $6 million to study a deadly blood and bone marrow disease often caused by chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
A five-year, $5 million grant from the Edward P. Evans Foundation and a gift of $1.25 million made anonymously through the Markey Cancer Foundation will be used to fund research of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a disease that affects the way the body produces blood cells that don't mature and can progress into leukemia. A major risk factor for MDS, which is largely untreatable, is past exposure to chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
The grant from the foundation and the anonymous gift will be used to fund five research labs, including three at the University of Kentucky, one at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and one at the University of Arkansas. Evans was a Virginia businessman who developed MDS after he received radiation treatment for prostate cancer and ultimately succumbed to the disease. In his will, he appointed four trustees to create the Edward P. Evans Foundation with the specific goal of funding MDS research.
"Our researchers are some of the best in the country, and receiving the Evans grant and the [anonymous] gift are further proof of that," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the Markey Cancer Center. "The...funding has the potential to help us make a huge difference in the lives of those patients who are most at risk for developing myelodysplastic syndrome. As we move toward applying for National Cancer Institute Designation, leading-edge research like this will become more and more of a focus for the Markey Cancer Center."