(PARP Inhibitors News) Merrill J. Egorin, MD an acclaimed PARP Inhibitors and cancer researcher died on August 7, 2010 at the age of 62. Dr. Egorin’s death came five years after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow. Dr. Egorin had been a professor of medicine and pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Last year he won a prestigious $500,000 award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for his outstanding cancer research. The award money is to be used to further the training of translational research-focused oncologists.
Dr. Egorin was passionate about the effectiveness of PARP inhibitors, predicting a year ago that the publicity and popularity of PARP inhibitors would explode. PARP inhibitors have shown promise in killing cancer cells in certain breast cancer and ovarian cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. PARP inhibitors help stop cancer cell DNA from repairing itself after chemotherapy. Studies have shown great promise. Dr. Egorin has been pushing for the expansion of the research of PARP inhibitors because of the promise they showed and because of its gain in popularity. Many news organizations, in June 2009, dubbed PARP inhibitors as “the wonder cancer drug” even though a lot of research and studies are still needed before PARP inhibitors can be used on a mass scale. Current research is mainly targeting breast and ovarian cancer, but it’s widely believed that PARP inhibitors will be effective in the treatment support of other cancers.
ASCO describes its $500,000 Translation Research Professorship Award as:
The Translational Research Professorship is awarded to physicians who are full-time professors at academic medical centers and have made significant contributions to the field of cancer research. This year’s recipient will receive $500,000 over five years to support continued efforts to bring advances in basic sciences into the clinical arena, and will also serve as a mentor for other translational researchers.
Since Dr. Egorin died one year after receiving the five-year award, it is unknown at this time how the rest of the award/program will be handled. However, ASCO did put out the following statement after learning of the death:
The ASCO Cancer Foundation® is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our Translational Research Professors, Dr. Merrill Egorin. Dr. Egorin was a world-class scientist, a wonderful colleague, and a truly inspired and dedicated teacher and mentor. He will be missed by the entire oncology community. Many of our staff had the honor to work with him while he taught our Grants Writing Workshops, actively performed TACF-funded research, was interviewed for our video series, and mentored many young investigators on their first grants. We saw first-hand what an inspiration he was and our hearts go out to his family and colleagues in this difficult time. We are confident that his legacy of passionate teaching and mentorship will live on through the many physician-scientists that he trained and we are glad that we were able to support him in these endeavors.
Dr. Egorin will be greatly missed with the PARP Inhibitors community, especially with his push to expand the research within this field.