CINJ researcher receives Clinical/Basic Science Research Award

Amar Rewari, MD, MBA, a researcher from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ), has been chosen to receive the Clinical Award in Clinical/Basic Science Research at the 52nd Annual Meeting of The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Diego next month. CINJ is a Center of Excellence of UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The Resident Clinical/Basic Science Research Award was created to promote clinical research by young scientists. It is given to the top three resident-authors of significant abstracts in physics, biology and clinical practice. Dr. Rewari, a resident at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was selected for his submission "Prognostic value of p16 expression in laryngeal cancer patients treated with radiation."

Some head and neck cancers are known to be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), whose presence can be confirmed by a marker known as p16. In other patients, these cancers are caused by very different factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption. In several forms of head and neck cancer, such as cancer of the tonsil, it has been found that cancer apparently caused by HPV and treated with radiation has less chance of recurring locally than does cancer from other origins. However, very few experiments have been done to look at what happens in patients with cancer of the larynx who receive radiation treatments. This was the focus of Rewari's research.

The study finds that radiation treatment of patients who have the p16 marker, and therefore likely HPV infection, is 15 percent more effective than treatment of patients whose cancers appear to have non-viral origins, as measured by the chance of the cancer recurring locally. It suggests that similar to other cancers of the head and neck, cancer of the larynx tends to be more treatable when p16 points toward HPV as the cause.

In 2009 Rewari presented at the ASTRO meeting in Chicago on the prognostic value of p53 gene expression in patients treated with breast conserving therapy. Other recent research by Rewari includes investigation of increased chances of second cancers in breast cancer survivors who smoke.

"It is incredible to see a clinician scientist so early on in his career recognized on the national and international stage. Dr. Rewari's dedication to his patients and his research allows us to continue to make important advances in the field of radiation oncology. This award is well deserved," stated CINJ Associate Director, Bruce G. Haffty, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Rewari, a Marlboro Township resident, will be presented with the award on November 2. The meeting, which is open to registered participants only, runs Sunday through November 4.


The Cancer Institute of New Jersey


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