A program created by three advocacy groups has awarded more than $6.75 million in multiyear grants to nine scientists whose work might drive a new generation of blood cancer treatments.
This new program’s goal is to encourage established blood cancer investigators to conduct critical basic research in hopes of finding novel ways to treat disorders including leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Combined, these cancers are the second-leading cause of death in the U.S.
Through these grants, scientists also hope to better understand blood cancer disease mechanisms — including those involving acute myeloid leukemia (AML) — and help develop better ways of detecting and monitoring disease progression.
“Over our 70-year history, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has been at the forefront of revolutionary cancer treatments, from the early days of chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation to the leading edge discoveries of immunotherapy and precision medicine, our investment in research is nearly $1.3 billion over that time,” Lee Greenberger, LLS chief scientific officer, said in a press release.
“With this new initiative, LLS maintains its role as a driver of innovation, supporting early-stage research to propel discoveries that might lead to the next generation of treatments and cures, and help accelerate promising therapies to patients.”
The BCDG supports foundational research that could lead to advances in the treatment and cure of blood cancers. Each project is supported by a three-year $750,000 award. Visit this site for more information.
“This three-way partnership among foundations will accelerate our understanding of cancer biology by empowering some of the brightest scientists to simultaneously probe unique but challenging areas of unmet need,” said Michele Clearly, PhD, CEO of the Mark Foundation. “We look forward to the discoveries that will result from these efforts.”
Grant recipients are:
- Robert Bradley, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Bradley is exploring the SF3B1 protein as a therapeutic target for leukemias and MDS.
- Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, of the University of California San Diego. Jamieson is studying the role of two enzymes, APOBEC3 and ADAR1, in AML and disease relapse, especially in elderly patients.
- Ronald Levy, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine. Levy is exploring a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy approach in which CAR cells are produced in the patient.
- Ravindra Majeti, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine. Majeti is producing cell-based models to test potential therapies and gauge the macroenvironment’s role in the progression of preleukemic cells into AML.
- Marcus Muschen, MD, PhD, of City of Hope. He is focusing on negative regulators of the WNT/b-catenin pathway as a prospective diagnostic marker and therapeutic target in various lymphomas.
- Susan Schwab, PhD, of New York University. Schwab is studying the mechanism by which T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells enter and accumulate in the central nervous system, and then spread to the brain.
- Margaret Shipp, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. Shipp is helping to chart the immune microenvironment in classical Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Robert Signer, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego. Signer is studying how the biological process of producing defective proteins plays a role in AML development.
- Daniel T. Starczynowski, PhD, Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation. He is exploring the role and potential therapeutic benefit of targeting the UBE2N protein in AML.
More information on each recipient is available here. Each of their projects will be supported by a $750,000 grant given over three years.
“Our organization is committed to pushing the boundaries of bioscience and accelerating discoveries to make a difference for humankind,” said Kathryn Richmond, Ph.D., MBA, director of the Frontiers Group, “and we believe these grants will be a catalyst that will spark innovative new directions in blood cancer research.”