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Duke Surgeon Receives Department of Defense Grant to Study Mesothelioma in Military Service Members

Thursday, August 17, 2017
David Harpole Jr, Duke Thoracic Surgeon

David Harpole Jr., MD, Professor, Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, has received a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Defense for research on a link between military service and the development of mesothelioma cancer. Out of the estimated 3,000 mesothelioma diagnoses in the United States each year, nearly a third of these patients have military experience. This study will help to determine why.

The research project will serve as a collaboration between Duke and researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the University of California San Diego. The teams will develop molecular signatures based on close investigation of the genetic make-up of mesothelioma tumors. Dr. Harpole hopes that the research project will identify the root causes of mesothelioma and develop targeted therapies.

The grant, titled “Military Exposure-Related Pleural Mesothelioma: An Innovative Translational Approach to Inform Novel Molecular-Targeted Treatment Development,” will continue for the next three years.