AZ Cancer Center holds informational science fair

By Joseph Altman Jr.

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Cancer Center is giving people the chance to see the research and innovation in cancer therapy today.

The center is holding their Faculty Science Fair in the Student Union Arizona Ballroom today from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Laurie Young, spokesperson for the Cancer Center, said the fair will provide a chance for scientists and clinicians at the center to share their work with other scientists and students.

Presenters will display their research on posters and will be on hand to explain their findings.

Some of the topics that will be presented include research into the role of gender in colorectal cancer, the effect of using a nicotine inhaler to aid in quitting smoking, the use of ultrasound treatments for brain tumors and the causes and consequences of tumor pH.

David Harris, associate professor of immunology, will present his work on the use of umbilical cord blood as a source of cells for bone marrow transplants.

Harris and the University of Arizona are leaders in cord blood research, as the UA has the largest cord blood storage facility in the U.S.

The Harris's research has also led to developments in the elimination of graft-versus-host disease in standard bone marrow to bone marrow transplants as well.

Harris has focused on eliminating certain cells in the donated sample that cause adverse side-effects.

Further research by Harris also considered the use of cord blood and bone marrow as a possible cure for the AIDS virus.

By using cord blood and inserting a new gene that can not be infected by HIV, the new bone marrow could give rise to new blood that can not be infected.

Garth Powis, director of basic science at the cancer center, said he encourages undergraduates to attend the fair and see what kind of research is being done.

"There's a pretty high level of science being done here," Powis said.

Young said the fair has been held off-campus in years past, but is being done on the main campus this year to reach more faculty and students.

She said she hopes to give people "a taste of what kind of research goes on (at the Cancer Center)."

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