ASTRO issues highest honor to UCLA's McBride

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William McBride, PhD, director of the division of cellular and molecular oncology in the department of radiation oncology at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), whose research focuses on the role of damage response to radiation in normal tissue and malignant tumors, received the Gold Medal award by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), during the organization’s 52nd annual meeting, held last week in San Diego.

The Gold Medal is given to organization members who have made "outstanding contributions to the field of radiation oncology, including research, clinical care, teaching and service," according to organization officials.

In addition to his research on tissue and tumor damage response to radiation, McBride also is working to develop countermeasures that will help treat damage caused by radiological or nuclear threats, such as a dirty bomb attack. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently renewed its $14 million, five-year grant funding of the research.

The research, McBride said, also might result in new strategies to reduce organ and tissue damage that occurs in cancer patients being treated with radiation therapy. McBride already has identified several compounds that may be effective in combatting radiation damage, including the antibiotic tetracycline.

A professor and vice chair for research for radiation oncology and a researcher with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, McBride joined the UCLA faculty in 1984. Prior to coming UCLA, he served as a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he earned his bachelor’s, doctorate and doctor of science degrees.