Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and the American Association for Cancer Research, SU2C's research partner, have announced five grants in support of collaborative research with the potential to improve cancer treatments.
Named for Nobel laureate and MIT molecular biologist Phillip A. Sharp, who chairs the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, the Phillip A. Sharp Awards for Innovation in Collaboration support cross-cutting work by scientists from different SU2C research teams. Investigators attending the annual SU2C Scientific Summit are invited to submit a two-hundred-and-fifty-word outline of their ideas, which are reviewed by committee the next morning, with preliminary winners announced in the afternoon. The winning teams submit more detailed applications before their grants are authorized.
Grant recipients named at this year's summit include Alan D'Andrea (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) and Juan Cubillos-Ruiz (Weill Cornell Medicine), who were awarded a total of $250,000 over two years to evaluate gene signatures controlled by phospholipid messengers and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and to test whether pharmacological inhibition of these pathways can facilitate treatment of ovarian tumors; and Denada Dibra (University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center) and Peter P. Lee (City of Hope National Medical Center), who will receive a one-year, $250,000 grant to study how the TP53 tumor suppressor gene may influence the tumor microenvironment.
In addition, Maximilian Diehn (Stanford University School of Medicine) and Aaron Hata (Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center) were awarded a two-year, $225,000 grant to develop a novel method for analyzing cell-free RNA associated with resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in patients with non-small cell lung cancer; and Robert H. Vonderheide (University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center) and Vinod P. Balachandran (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) will receive $225,000 over two years to combine their expertise in immunobiology and computational biology to investigate how mKRAS immunogenicity may dictate outcomes for pancreatic and mKRAS lung and colon cancers.
A special two-year, $250,000 grant funded by the Emily Whitehead Foundation was awarded to Sarah Tasian (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) and Kimberly Stegmaier (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), who will test a hypothesis that multi-antigen-specific CAR T cells targeting two or more neoantigens presented by the cells have superior anti-leukemia efficacy and lead to longer remissions.
"These new studies bring together outstanding researchers from different teams to make use of the extraordinary talent we have across the SU2C community," said Arnold J. Levine, vice chair of the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, who is also professor emeritus of systems biology at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. "We're building on previous research at the same time we are tackling tough new questions."
(Photo credit: Stand Up To Cancer)