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Maher receives American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant

Christopher A. Maher, PhD

Christopher A. Maher, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a four-year, $792,000 Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society awards Research Scholar Grants for researcher-initiated projects. Recipients must be in the first six years of an independent research career or faculty appointment.

Maher, who has been at the School of Medicine since 2011, will use the grant to search for more effective treatments for later stages of colorectal cancer, the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the U.S. and the second leading cause in men.

The limited understanding of how colon cancer spreads throughout the body is a critical barrier to improve current treatments. Maher and scientists in his lab are trying to exploit a novel molecule that may be acting as a master regulator by interacting with specific proteins to alter their normal function and cause the tumor to spread. A better understanding of how this molecule functions will enable them to develop more effective therapies. The results also could help researchers who are studying other types of cancer, he said.

“We are very grateful to the American Cancer Society for supporting our research,” said Maher, who also is an assistant director of The McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University and a Siteman Cancer Center research member. “A better understanding of how primary tumors spread could lead to the development of better treatments, and the impact of this research could apply across a much larger patient population.”

For more information on Maher’s research, visit