Two grants for research that could transform cancer therapies have been funded through an innovative partnership between the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and MPM Capital through its management of the UBS Oncology Impact Fund. This unique grant program allows investigators to pursue transformative research.
The AACR-MPM Oncology Charitable Foundation Transformative Cancer Research Grants program is announcing its first two grants totaling $800,000 in support of research that has the potential to explore new approaches to cancer treatment. These grants mark the beginning of a long-term commitment by MPM Capital to finance groundbreaking research, and the program expects to announce another grant opportunity in mid-2020.
Each project will receive $400,000 over a 2-year period. Under the program, proposed research must represent a highly innovative approach to a major problem or challenge in cancer research that may not be funded through conventional channels. The funded projects are expected to catalyze important advances in cancer research and should have a potentially transformative impact on future clinical practice. The projects can be in any area of basic, translational, or clinical research.
Focus of First Two Grants
Sahand Hormoz, PhD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, will study how genetic alterations in stem cells can disrupt normal blood development and cause myeloproliferative neoplasms. These neoplasms may behave as an indolent disease or progress to more aggressive diseases that can be life-threatening. Dr.
Sahand Hormoz, PhD
Hormoz will reconstruct the lineage history of the mutated stem cells and characterize them by leveraging a single-cell profiling technology platform developed in his lab. The findings from the study are likely to provide in-depth understanding of when myeloproliferative neoplasm–like blood cancers originated in individual patients and how they evolved over time. A better understanding of how these neoplasms form may potentially transform treatments for these diseases, allowing the development of patient-specific targeted -therapies.
Liron Bar-Peled, PhD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, will focus on understanding how metabolic reprogramming in cancer cells can be targeted to develop therapeutic strategies. Using novel
Liron Bar-Peled, PhD
proteomic and metabolomic technologies, Dr. Bar-Peled aims to understand how altered metabolic pathways in cancer cells induce a type of cell death known as ferroptosis. A better understanding of this type of cell death will improve our knowledge of how cells succumb to ferroptosis and may lay the foundation for a potential treatment.■