Mark R. Kelley, PhD, was awarded the 2017 Bantz-Petronio Translating Research into Practice Award in recognition of his exemplary translational research in the area of cancer.
In 2013 Former Chancellor Charles Bantz and Dr. Sandra Petronio established the Bantz-Petronio Translating Research into Practice Award because translational work is core to the schools of IUPUI. The award recognizes outstanding faculty research that is interdisciplinary and/or cross-disciplinary, and intentionally directed toward positively impacting people’s lives within or beyond the State of Indiana. In addition to generating knowledge through scientific inquiry or humanistic scholarship, the award recognizes faculty that actively endeavor to transform that knowledge into practices or solutions, demonstrating innovative ways to improve the lives of individuals and the communities in which they live.
Since joining the Department of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine in 1993, Dr, Kelley’s work has focused on translational research in DNA damage and repair, specifically, to determine how those activities can be exploited therapeutically to treat cancers and protect normal cells from DNA damage.
He has focused specifically on the enzyme called APE1 as a therapeutic target in cancers and other diseases. Dr. Kelley discovered and has been developing a specific inhibitor of APE1 which he is now translating to clinical trials. This work has also led to the creation of a biotechnology company called Apexian Pharmaceuticals, of which Dr. Kelley is the Chief Scientific Founder and Officer.
The first drug developed has recently been approved by the FDA for Phase 1 clinical trials in cancer patients scheduled to begin in 2017. The drug has potential uses in a number of cancers including ovarian, colon, bladder, pancreatic, leukemia, and other adult and pediatric cancers.
He is also exploring the use of the target APE1 and the drug to prevent a major side-effect of cancer treatments called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN).
Dr. Kelley is committed to fast-tracking collaboration and translational research efforts in order to find more effective cancer treatments. He also mentors and encourages students, post-doctorates, fellows and junior faculty in translating their research into practice to expand the number of discoveries that help solve problems and make life better.