OHSU Scientist Receives Fanconi Research Award

12/04/02    Philadelphia, PA.

Markus Grompe's cloning of Fanconi anemia gene has advanced research into rare disease.

The Fanconi Anemia (FA) Research Fund, Inc., has conferred its highest award, the Award of Merit, on Markus Grompe, M.D., Oregon Health & Science University professor of molecular and medical genetics, and pediatrics, at the group¹s Fourteenth Annual International Scientific Symposium last night. The Symposium is being held at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel in Philadelphia from December 2-5.

Fanconi anemia is a fatal genetic disorder associated with multiple, severe birth defects as well as a predisposition to cancer. It affects about 3,000 families worldwide. The disease is particularly well known in Oregon because of its diagnosis in the three daughters of Dave and Lynn Frohnmayer of Eugene. The Frohnmayers founded the FA Research Fund in 1989, before their daughters Kirsten and Katie died of the disease.

Only two Awards of Merit have been given previously. The FA Research Fund Board of Directors acknowledges the exceptional contribution that Grompe has made to the field of Fanconi anemia research through the discovery and elucidation of the gene, FANCD2. Because of this accomplishment, Fanconi anemia has been vaulted out of the realm of an orphan disease into a much broader scientific arena. The board also notes Grompe's many years of tireless work to advance FA science. Of special note, he has maintained an FA cell repository at OHSU for many years, thereby providing much-needed research material to FA researchers worldwide.

"Of the seven Fanconi genes that have been cloned, some were easier than others. Markus has led the way on cloning of the most difficult ones," said Grover Bagby, M.D., director of the OHSU Cancer Institute. "His creation of murine models of Fanconi anemia has been a boon to many investigators in the field, and the Fanconi anemia cell repository has been an important resource for researchers as well. The field would have advanced much more slowly had it not been for his aggressive commitment to research in this field and we're glad that he's focusing on this important task."

Since its inception, the FA Research Fund has raised more than $13 million for research, symposia, physician recruitment, publications, family education and other services. It has awarded more than $5 million in research grant awards to 95 researchers in 28 laboratories around the world.

For more information about Fanconi anemia and the Eugene-based FA Research Fund, contact Mary Ellen Eiler, executive director, at 541 687-4658, or visit www.fanconi.org.