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Shira Dinner, MD, Awarded NCCN Grant to Investigate Volasertib in Hematologic Malignancies

Shira Dinner

Shira Dinner, MD, Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, was awarded a grant from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Oncology Research Program (ORP) to scientifically evaluate and define the safety and clinical effectiveness of the investigational compound volasertib in the treatment of hematologic malignancies.

Volasertib is an investigational compound that inhibits enzymes called Polo-like kinase (PLK). PLK1 is the best characterized kinase of the PLK family. PLK1 regulates cell division (mitosis). This inhibition can result in prolonged cell cycle arrest, ultimately leading to cell death.

“The NCCN Oncology Research Program has been a great success having obtained over $58 million in research funding for NCCN member institutions,” said Al B. Benson III, MD, Associate Director for Cooperative Groups at the Lurie Cancer Center. “In this era of decreased funding opportunities, especially for young investigators, the NCCN ORP has been another important avenue to secure research dollars.”

The grant is one of three awarded to investigators from NCCN Member Institutions across the U.S., and will fund Dr. Dinner’s study, A Phase I Clinical Trial Evaluating the Combination of Volasertib (BI-6727) with Vincristine Sulfate Liposomal Injections (VSLI) in Adult Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.  

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