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Northern Colorado professor receives American Cancer Society grant for research

Published: Monday, January 28, 2013

Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 02:01

David Hydock 1-28

Colleen Allison | The Mirror

David S. Hydock, an assistant professor of sport and exercise science, was awarded a $421,218 grant that will run for the next three years from the American Cancer Society.

Assistant professor of sport and exercise science David S. Hydock was recently named a recipient of a Mentored Research Scholar Grant by the American Cancer Society. The grant is worth $421,218 and will run for the next three years.

Hydock was made aware by the American Cancer Society that he would receive the grant in March 2012. His research project titled “Doxorubicin Treatment and Skeletal Muscle Function: Effects of Exercise” began July 1, 2012.

Hydock will be examining the effects of doxorubicin, a chemotherapy drug used to treat different types of cancer as it relates to skeletal muscle dysfunction. Weakness and fatigue of muscles can be considered common in chemotherapy patients. Hydock’s studies may help find ways to decrease muscle weakness by examining the different effects of exercise on muscles.

“Doxorubicin is thought to accumulate only in the cardiac muscle; however, it was found that it also accumulates in skeletal muscle (on a lesser scale), which may cause the side effects of muscle fatigue and dysfunction that many cancer patients complain about,” Hydock said.

When doxorubicin accumulates in the skeletal muscle and causes fatigue and weakness, this is considered a direct effect of the drug on skeletal muscles.  

“If the cardiac muscle is compromised (by the drug), this could also potentially cause muscle weakness and fatigue,” Hydock said.  

This is an indirect effect of the drug on skeletal muscle function.  Both the direct and indirect effects may lead to radical muscle damage, something Hydock is looking to help eradicate through his studies.

Hydock plans to use what he calls “basic science research” in his study. He will test using physiology experiments, molecular analysis of the drug doxorubicin and biochemical analysis. The goal of the study according to Hydock is to “ease out the direct and indirect effects of doxorubicin on skeletal muscle by exercise, training, resistance training, all while using different doses of the drug.”

Shane Ferraro, a communications manager at the American Cancer Society, describes the Mentored Research Scholar Grant as “support for mentored research and training to full-time junior faculty.”

“(The grant is) a function of the American Cancer Society’s Extramural Grants Program, which seeks to support and promote high impact and innovative cancer research across a wide range of disciplines to meet critically important needs in the control of cancer,” Ferraro said.

This grant provides Hydock with a unique opportunity that will enable him to conduct research that has the potential to go on and   make the process of chemotherapy easier for cancer patients.

Mentored Research Scholar grants are for up to five years and can be worth up to $135,000 per year.  

“Each year, the society receives approximately 2,000 requests for research funding and health care professional training support,” Ferraro said.

Hydock said receiving this grant is an honor for him and for the University of Northern Colorado. With the help of this grant from the American Cancer Society, Hydock’s research may bring scientists closer to finding effective ways to treat cancer patients and hopefully allow less-
extreme side effects.

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