The recently released Clinical Cancer Advances 2013: ASCO’s Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer, highlights the most impactful advances in clinical cancer research of the year, and this year’s report identifies two studies that were funded by the Conquer Cancer Foundation.
Advances in Targeted Therapy
One of the Foundation-funded studies identified as an important advance was led by Ingo Mellinghoff, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, recipient of a 2009 Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Advanced Clinical Research Award (ACRA) in Glioma. His study, published this year in Science, was supported in part by the ACRA and shows that a new experimental drug that targets the protein product of the gene IDH1 is a potential important new therapeutic in the fight against cancer. Importantly, the drug blocks mutant IDH1, found in many cancers including glioma and acute myeloid leukemia, and does not affect the normal, nonmutated protein. The preclinical data in Dr. Mellinghoff’s study paves the way for the drug to enter clinical trials for patients whose tumors have this gene mutation. Dr. Mellinghoff also received a 2003 Young Investigator Award (YIA) from the Conquer Cancer Foundation early in his career.
“Receiving the ACRA in Glioma and the YIA provided financial support and motivation during critical parts of my career,” said Dr. Mellinghoff in an interview with the Foundation. “There are many benefits of receiving a [Conquer Cancer Foundation] grant, but perhaps the greatest is the recognition by peers that one is trying to solve an important question in cancer.”
Richard J. Lee, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital received a 2009 Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Career Development Award (CDA) for his work investigating tumor cells that circulate in the blood of patients with prostate cancer. He led a phase II clinical trial, funded in part by the CDA and published earlier this year in Clinical Cancer Research, in which a lower dose of a new targeted therapy still led to shrinkage of prostate cancer metastases in 82% of patients when evaluated on bone scans and 58% of patients on this dose had a reduction in the number of tumor cells circulating in their blood.
In addition to these two studies, many advances highlighted in the 2013 report were led by researchers, such as Marcia Brose, MD, who have received Foundation support early in their careers. To view and download the full 2013 report, visit www.cancerprogress.net/cca or www.jco.org.
Investing in the Future of Oncology
The Conquer Cancer Foundation provides critical funding through its Grants and Awards Program to support young investigators like those featured in the 2013 Clinical Cancer Advances report. Career development grants like the YIA, CDA, and ACRA help researchers launch successful careers, become established in the oncology community, and make discoveries that benefit patients with cancer. Clearly, the Foundation’s initial investment in these young researchers is paying dividends, as they are succeeding in their careers, making an impact on patients, and advancing the field of oncology.
By donating to the Conquer Cancer Foundation, you can help fund aspiring scientists in making the next big breakthroughs in cancer research. Visit www.conquercancerfoundation.org/donate to make a gift today. All gifts made before December 31, 2013, will be matched dollar for dollar by Raj Mantena, RPh, doubling their impact in research support. ■
© 2013. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.