The Florida Center for Cellular Therapy of the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute re- cently received a $374,000 grant to continue research in cellular therapy that could one day benefit cancer patients, especially ethnic minorities and the elderly.
Dr. Alicja Copik, research scientist at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, applied for the grant in hopes of developing innovative cellular technology and then converting it into therapy that will help patients with leukemia. Dr. Copik’s research uses nanoparticle tech- nology to multiply a type of tumor-fighting white blood cells. This new technology could benefit minorities that experience difficulties finding a matching donor for bone marrow transplant and the elderly, for whom the transplant process is too problematic. The grant funds will be used within a three year period.
The funds awarded by the grant program will be used for research supplies, skilled re- searchers and equipment. This grant is seen as the next big stepping stone for this research at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute.
“Current biomedical research is expensive, but it is also one of the greatest investments that affect the future of society,” said Dr. Copik. “Without these funds, none of it is pos- sible and biomedical research would not move forward.” (Photo Dr Copik)
The grant, under the Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program, is called the New Investigator Research (NIR) grant. The grant application process is a competitive one; Dr. Copik’s team was one of 23 awardees out of 133 who applied to receive a grant from the Florida Biomedical Research Program. The applications undergo a peer review process by an extensive team comprised of experts in different research areas, professionals and one person representing the general public. These officials are chosen by the governor, president of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives and three private philanthropic organizations.