Prevent Cancer Foundation awards eight new research grants


Kyra Meister

Alexandria, Va. – The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is pleased to announce funding for eight scientists who are researching cancer prevention and early detection. Each scientist has been awarded $100,000 for two years. Areas of focus include the blood, breast, colon, lung and skin (including melanoma).

To honor the legacy of former Foundation board member, Congressman Victor “Vic” Fazio—who died of melanoma in March 2022—a $100,000 melanoma research grant was awarded in this year’s cycle.

Listed below are the 2023 research grantees. Click herefor more detailed information about their projects.

Grantee: Francisco Cartujano, M.D.
Project Title: Advancing Lung Cancer Screening Among Latinos One Text at a Time
Named Award: Richard C. Devereaux Outstanding Young Investigator Award 
Position: Assistant Professor
Institution: University of Rochester Medical Center, Wilmot Cancer Institute, Rochester, N.Y.

Lung cancer remains the number one cause of cancer-related death among Latinos. Although lung cancer screening has been shown to reduce deaths, uptake among Latinos remains low. This project aims to develop and pilot test a text messaging program to increase the enrollment of lung cancer screening among Latinos.

Grantee: Brandon Gheller, Ph.D.
Project Title: Dietary Intervention for Clonal Hematopoiesis, Myelodysplasia and Leukemia
Named Award: Awesome Games Done Quick
Position: Research Fellow
Institution: Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Mass.

Clonal hematopoiesis is a condition where genetic mutations found in the blood predict cancer initiation and severity. This project aims to identify dietary interventions that can be applied safely for long periods of time in this pre-cancerous state to prevent cancer initiation.

Grantee: Maayan Levy, Ph.D.
Project Title: Designing Metabolite-Based Prevention in Lynch Syndrome    
Named Award: Stohlman Family Grant in memory of Richard Stohlman and Margaret Weigand
Position: Researcher
Institution: Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.

Despite the genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer in patients with Lynch syndrome, the age of onset and rate of progression is highly variable among patients, indicating a critical role for modifiable environmental factors, including diet, in disease manifestation. This study will serve as the steppingstone for larger follow-up trials in individuals with Lynch Syndrome and beyond. It is the hope that this study will establish a new, low-cost and widely accessible prevention method for colorectal cancer.

Grantee: Veronica Rotemberg, M.D., Ph.D.
Project Title: Quantifying the Impact of Skin Tone on Diagnostic Prediction
Named Award: Vic Fazio Memorial Fund
Position: Director of the Tow Foundation Informatics Program in the Dermatology Service
Institution: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y.

Artificial intelligence has immense potential to improve access to expert-level melanoma screening in low-resource areas and enhance specificity of nonexperts. This project will evaluate algorithms and the largest training repository against potential sources of bias, such as skin tone.

Grantee: Caner Saygin, M.D.
Project Title: Dissecting the Evolution of Clonal Hematopoiesis to Prevent Acute Leukemias
Named Award: Awesome Games Done Quick
Position: Fellow
Institution: University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.

Clonal hematopoiesis (CH) is a pre-malignant state that can be detected in blood cells of a person years before the diagnosis of acute leukemia. By understanding the mechanisms by which CH causes leukemia, this project aims to develop new strategies to predict the risk and prevent leukemia before it happens.

Grantee: Srividya Swaminathan, Ph.D.
Project Title: Targeting the Long Isoform of the Prolactin Receptor to Prevent B-Lymphomas
Named Award: Congressional Families Program: Tribute to The Honorable Vic Fazio
Position: Assistant Professor, Systems Biology
Institution: Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, Calif.

Children and adults with certain kinds of autoimmune diseases are at high risk of developing aggressive B-cell lymphoma. This study seeks a new strategy for the early diagnosis and prevention of lymphoma among this vulnerable population.

Grantee: Ester Villalonga Olives, Ph.D.
Project Title: Adaptation of Project HEAL for Hispanic/Latino Immigrants
Named Award: Awesome Games Done Quick
Position: Assistant Professor
Institution: University of Maryland, Baltimore, Md.

Late-stage cancer has been linked to lower survival rates. Immigrant Hispanics/Latinos tend to be diagnosed at advanced stages, which can contribute to their disproportional rate of cancer-related mortality. This intervention aims to increase cancer knowledge and screening intention among this population.

Grantee: Michelle Williams, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., M.P.H.
Project Title: A Multicomponent Lung Cancer Screening Awareness mHealth Intervention
Named Award: The Shure Family Charitable Foundation
Position: Assistant Professor
Institution: George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.

Experts suggest that yearly lung cancer screening is one of the most effective ways to decrease lung cancer mortality rates. The evidence-based lung cancer education program of this project is focused on using mobile health technology to promote participation in lung cancer screening among high-risk populations.


To view all past funded research grant and fellowship projects driving these key advancements in cancer prevention and early detection, explore the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Award Database.


About the Prevent Cancer Foundation®

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is the only U.S.-based nonprofit organization solely dedicated to cancer prevention and early detection. Through research, education, outreach and advocacy, we have helped countless people avoid a cancer diagnosis or detect their cancer early enough to be successfully treated. We are driven by a vision of a world where cancer is preventable, detectable and beatable for all 

The Foundation is rising to meet the challenge of reducing cancer deaths by 40% by 2035. To achieve this, we are committed to investing $20 million for innovative technologies to detect cancer early and advance multi-cancer screening, $10 million to expand cancer screening and vaccination access to medically underserved communities, and $10 million to educate the public about screening and vaccination options.

For more information, please visit