Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) announced the formation of a “Dream Team” of top researchers to take on one of the toughest challenges in cancer research and treatment: colorectal cancer, which is expected to claim the lives of more than 50,000 Americans this year. The announcement was made at a special event during the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), SU2C’s Scientific Partner. The AACR meeting was held April 1–5 in Washington, DC.
Phillip A. Sharp, PhD
“We are urgently in need of new approaches to colorectal cancer,” said Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Nobel Laureate, and Chairman of SU2C’s Scientific Advisory Committee. “We have made great progress in prevention through widespread screening, but new methods are needed to treat colorectal cancer when it actually occurs.”
Meet the Dream Team
The SU2C Colorectal Cancer Dream Team, with funding of up to $12 million from SU2C, will be led by Luis A. Diaz, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as Leader, and Charles S. Fuchs, MD, MPH, Director of the Yale Cancer Center; Lewis Cantley, PhD, Director of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; and Zhenghe Wang, PhD, of the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, as Co-Leaders. More than 50 researchers at 6 institutions are involved in the team.
“Through a combination of new avenues in immunotherapy, targeted therapeutics, metabolomics, and precision prevention, we believe we can find new ways to fight colorectal cancer and bring new hope to patients,” Dr. Diaz said.
The team’s research program will also include clinical trials to investigate drugs that could attack genetic vulnerabilities in many types of colorectal cancer tumors.
“The metabolism of cancer cells, how they process nutrients, is different from normal cells,” Dr. Cantley said. “The trials are designed to take advantage of that knowledge and hopefully kill the cells.”
Serving as Dream Team Principals are Ryan B. Corcoran, MD, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Nilofer S. Azad, MD, of Johns Hopkins University. Serving as Dream Team Advocates are Anjee Davis, President, Fight Colorectal Cancer; Ivelisse M. Page, Executive Director and Cofounder, Believe Big, Inc; Joanna Fuchs, MD, Patient Advocate, Yale University; Martha Raymond, Executive Director, Michael’s Mission; Thomas Herbert Marsilje; and Vanessa L. Whiting, President, A.E.S. Management Corp. ■