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TSET Funds Help Recruit Breast Cancer Research Team

A husband-and-wife breast cancer research team, Drs. Bryan and Alana Welm, have recently been recruited to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) and Stephenson Cancer Center thanks, in part, to the support from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). The Welms joined OMRF and Stephenson Cancer Center in June 2014 from Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute, where they published a series of influential studies on breast cancer pathology, metastasis, and breast cancer development throughout the next seven years. The Welms have joined the cancer research efforts at OMRF as faculty and Stephenson Cancer Center as TSET Research Scholars.

The Welms’ work primarily focuses on breast cancer research and has recently expanded into colon and ovarian cancers. Upon their joining the research family at Stephenson Cancer Center and OMRF, each of them has brought grant support from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. More than a dozen research staff have made the transition from Utah to Oklahoma to fill the new lab openings. 

The pair has become a significant asset to the cancer research team at Stephenson Cancer Center. Dr. Bryan Welm’s research is affiliated with Cancer Biology and identifying natural compounds to fight tumors, and Dr. Alana Welm works in experimental therapeutics and has an interest working with the immunologists at OMRF. The Welms focus on “precision medicine” which uses genetic information to tailor treatments for individual patients.  David Jones, Ph.D., Deputy Director for Translational Research at Stephenson Cancer Center and Jeannine Tuttle Rainbolt Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at OMRF, has led the cancer research efforts at Stephenson Cancer Center. Jones wants to continue to recruit leading scientists from renowned institutions across the nation and bring them to the Oklahoma City area. “Alana and Bryan Welm are bringing an exciting portfolio of research and expertise to Oklahoma. Their work is going to be a major asset to both OMRF and the Stephenson Cancer Center as we find new ways to deliver better outcomes to cancer patients in Oklahoma,” Jones said.  

In recent years, Oklahoma’s research sector has become a destination for cancer research initiatives. “Oklahoma has so much to offer with cutting-edge research at OMRF and OU and clinical trials at Stephenson,” said Dr. Bryan Welm.

TSET has partnered with Stephenson Cancer Center and invested $ 30.2 million dollars over five years to fund other TSET research scholars and their research efforts. In addition, TSET established the TSET Phase I Clinical Trial Cancer Treatment Program at Stephenson to offer cutting-edge treatment to Oklahomans across the state. There are currently 635 Oklahomans and 17 patients from other states enrolled.

Read this original article from Stephenson Cancer Center.                                           

To learn more about the research TSET funds, click here.