2011 Research Awardees
Researchers examine different markers of cancer risk in an effort to learn more about how the disease develops and how it can be prevented. The Foundation is supporting Vijayakrishna Gadi, MD, PhD, to research a less-studied marker of breast cancer risk, fetal microchimerism (a small number of cells that move from a fetus to a woman during pregnancy), which could lead to new opportunities for secondary prevention.
Yuriko Mori, M.D., Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. for men and women combined. With screening, colorectal cancer can be prevented or detected early. Dr. Mori’s goal is to address the challenge to better identify those at highest risk of developing colorectal cancer—those with the greatest need of invasive colonoscopic screening or other preventive measures. This grant is made possible by the Doornink Family Charitable Trust and Mrs. Cecile Tauzin.
Suzanne O’Neill, Ph.D.
Named Award: Holden Family Grant in Breast Cancer
Mammographic breast density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer, yet there is little known about how aware women are of this risk factor. Would greater awareness increase their interest in risk management options such as chemoprevention or enhanced screening, such as MRI? The Foundation is funding Suzanne O’Neill, Ph.D., to assess cognitive, emotional and attitudinal variables related to breast cancer risk with a focus on breast density and management approaches. She will use this information to pilot an intervention aimed at increasing appropriate use of chemoprevention and enhancing screening to help prevent breast cancer in this high-risk group.
Genetic risk factors have been identified for lung cancer, yet it is unclear how to make efficient use of individual genetic information for prevention and early detection of this disease. Foundation-funded researcher Bo Peng, Ph.D., is investigating whether it is cost-effective to use individual genetic profiles for the prevention of lung cancer. This research will provide valuable information regarding the utility of individual genetic information and will help in the development of personalized cancer prevention and treatment options.
Iris Romero, M.D.
The University of Chicago
Named Award: Figdor Family Research Grant
Studies have shown that Metformin, a commonly used treatment for Type-2 diabetes, decreases the risk of developing cancer. In Dr. Iris Romero’s preliminary studies in ovarian cancer, Metformin prevented tumor development in mice and inhibited proliferation of ovarian cancer cells. The Foundation is funding Dr. Romero to continue this research by clarifying the cancer prevention effect of Metformin in high-risk groups.
Yang Wang, M.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Foundation Partnership Award: IASLC Lung Cancer Fellowship Award
EML4-ALK fusion-type tyrosine kinase is an oncoprotein found in a subset of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Crizotinib, an FDA-approved small-molecule inhibitor of ALK, showed an impressive response rate as compared with second-line chemotherapy. Despite these promising results, disease relapse due to kinase inhibitor resistance is inevitable through secondary mutations or bypass signaling pathways. Dr. Wang’s research seeks to identify the various resistance mechanisms for ALK inhibitors and then to aid the development and design of new therapies for the treatment of NSCLC patients with ALK rearrangements.
Medulloblastoma is the most common cancerous brain tumor in children, and brain tumors are the most common cause of cancer-related death in children. The Foundation is supporting the research of Brian Rood, M.D., to identify biomarkers for medulloblastoma that have the ability to reflect the response to therapy and/or disease reoccurrence. These biomarkers would be invaluable to the clinical management of this disease.
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