Castrillon receives $200,000 grant for cancer studies

By Amanda Siegfried
Office of News and Publications

Dr. Diego Castrillon, an assistant professor of pathology at UT Southwestern, has won a $200,000 grant from the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research.

The organization recently named Dr. Castrillon one of 15 Kimmel Scholars for 2004. The foundation annually grants awards to the brightest young minds in cancer research nationwide.

As a faculty member in the newly created Division of Translational Pathology at UT Southwestern, Dr. Castrillon uses the tools of basic science to address unanswered questions in clinical medicine. His research focuses on extending fundamental studies into treatments for human disease - also known as translational research.

"It was a huge honor for me to be selected by the Kimmel Foundation because its advisory board comprises the luminaries in cancer biology," Dr. Castrillon said.

The two-year grant will support Dr. Castrillon's translational research into endometrial cancer, or cancer of the uterus, which is the most common cancer of the female reproductive tract. There are 40,000 new cases of the disease in the United States each year and 8,000 deaths.

"In 30 years there has been al most no progress in the treatment of endometrial cancer," Dr. Castrillon said, adding that he considers his award from the Kimmel Foundation a recognition of the relatively few research dollars devoted to the disease and the importance of funding young investigators pursuing translational cancer studies.

Dr. Castrillon received his medical and doctoral degrees from UT Southwestern in 1996.