Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) has awarded its inaugural Laura Ziskin Prize in Translational Cancer Research to Feyruz Rassool, Ph.D., a cancer research scientist at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Rassool was chosen based on her research into ways to attack an aggressive form of breast cancer that took the life of Ms. Ziskin, a prominent film producer, in 2011.
A one-year grant of $250,000 will be shared by Dr. Rassool and Stephen Baylin, M.D., Ph.D., of the Sydney Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. The 2012 Ziskin Award will facilitate a collaboration between the two scientists aimed at developing new therapies that can enhance the effectiveness of existing therapies. Dr. Rassool’s work focuses on blocking abnormalities in DNA repair pathways. Dr. Baylin is studying the epigenetic mechanisms that cancer cells use to modify the function of normal genes and pathways. Drs. Baylin and Rassool are also husband and wife and are initiating this scientific endeavor with the goal of improving the management of breast cancer.
The inaugural Prize recipients were announced on October 10, 2012, at the Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles, at an event celebrating the release of the book Laura Ziskin: Collective Memories and Photographs, by Susan B. Landau.