University of Florida Health
Early Career Development Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Hans Ghayee! His research proposal "mTOR Inhibitors Effect on Growth & Catecholalmine Synthesis of Human Pheochromocytoma Cells" is a distinctive concept of developing a new pheochromocytoma cell line and of testing new agents in that cell line which has the potential of being highly relevant to the field.

On behalf of the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS) it is a pleasure to announce his selection as the recipient of our first Young Investigator grant in the amount of $50,000. Following is Dr. Gahyee summary of his project:

"Our group is interested in studying tumors called pheochromocytoma that arise from the adrenal medulla. These tumors secrete catecholamines and affected patients may present with hypertension or palpitations and can have devastating complications resulting in cardiovascular collapse. We are interested in identifying compounds which might inhibit pheochromocytoma cell proliferation or catecholamine production. One such candidate class of compounds are called mTOR inhibitors. We hope to further investigate whether hypersecretion of catecholamines would be controlled with mTOR inhibitors. A human pheochromocytoma cell line has been generated in our laboratory and affords us an opportunity to study the effects of mTOR inhibitors and other drugs on human pheochromocytoma cells which will give us an insight for future therapeutic targets."

Due to the current shortage of young scientists focused on the clinical investigation of neuroendocrine tumors, we created this grant to encourage physicians, at the end of their fellowship or beginning of their faculty appointment, to pursue clinical research in this field. Dr. Ghayee's application was well written and his research plan has the capability of producing results that would make significant contributions to NET research and lead to a productive career in neuroendocrine tumors.

In addition, we want to acknowledge the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation for funding this grant. Their continued support and commitment to assist NANETS in fulfilling our mission is critical to the success of the NANETS organization. This collaborative partnership and their assistance in funding research will continue to make a positive impact in improving the lives of people with carcinoid/NET cancers.

Dr. Ghayee will be presenting developments from this research project at the NANETS annual meeting in 2010.