Dr. Jaime R. Merchan Selected for NIH Developmental Therapeutics Study Section

Jaime R. Merchan, M.D., hematologist/oncologist at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been selected as a chartered member of the Developmental Therapeutics Study Section in the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health. The six-year term began July 1.

The Section reviews applications addressing the experimental therapy of neoplastic diseases in in vitro systems and in vivo model systems, including some early-stage, pilot clinical trials. Its major emphasis is the rational development of novel therapeutic strategies that have a significant potential for early translation to the clinic.

Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.

“Service on a study section also requires mature judgment and objectivity, as well as the ability to work effectively in a group — qualities we believe Dr. Merchan will bring to this important task,” said Richard Nakamura, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Scientific Review.

“I am extremely honored to have been selected as a member of the Developmental Therapeutics Study Section,” said Merchan, who is associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Miller School of Medicine. “The Section plays an important role in advancing promising research in the development of new therapies for numerous types of cancer. To be recognized in this way by my peers is especially rewarding.”

Merchan is a highly respected physician scientist, with board certification in medical oncology and hematology, more than 30 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals, more than 50 abstracts at medical conferences, participation in numerous professional societies and on professional committees, and a strong research funding history. His clinical areas of interest include genitourinary and gastrointestinal cancers, areas where he conducts clinical and translational research. Merchan also leads the Phase I Program at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, which evaluates novel treatments for patients with advanced cancer.

“Dr. Merchan’s selection reflects his high standing in the cancer community,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and professor of medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology. “He is an outstanding researcher and clinician who is making important contributions to Sylvester. He will be an important contributor to the Developmental Therapeutics Study Section, and we are proud to have him representing our institution in this prestigious role.”

Specific topics being explored by the Section are:

• Evaluation of drug-delivery strategies (including nanoparticles, liposomes and other delivery vehicles) and gene therapy approaches involving non-immunologic targets for the treatment of cancer

• Translational studies of novel antineoplastic agents and pre-clinical drug toxicity, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic and biomarker studies of anticancer agents

• Development of anti-angiogenic therapeutic strategies and rational combinations of cytotoxic drugs with novel agents including those targeting: growth factors, signaling, cell cycle regulation, angiogenic, and differentiation pathways

• Development and application of mathematical and computational methods for the investigation of combination chemotherapy using small molecules and other modalities

• Therapeutic approaches involving biologic response modifiers either alone or in combination with novel or conventional drugs for cancer treatment

• Early-stage, pilot clinical trials of novel anticancer therapeutic and drug-delivery strategies involving pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, toxicologic or pharmacogenomic endpoints

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