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Prevent Cancer Foundation Awards Nine New Research Grants


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The Prevent Cancer Foundation has announced funding for nine scientists who are researching cancer prevention and early detection. Each scientist is being awarded $100,000 for 2 years. Areas of focus include the pancreas, esophagus, liver, lungs, skin, prostate, colon-rectum, and blood/bone marrow.

Here are the 2021 research grantees:

  • Awesome Games Done Quick Award:Limor Appelbaum, MD, Staff Scientist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston: “Use of Medical Records and Microbiome for Predicting Pancreatic Cancer”—Pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed in advanced stages, when cure is no longer possible. Early detection of this cancer can lead to cure. Dr. Appelbaum proposes a model that may identify people at high risk of pancreatic cancer to be recommended for screening.
  • Richard C. Devereaux Outstanding Young Investigator Award:Julie A. Barta, MD, ATSF, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia: “Improving Lung Cancer Screening Barriers for Vulnerable Populations”—Despite the advent of lung screening to identify cancers at early, curable stages, major disparities exist in screening uptake and adherence. This project will examine and alleviate financial and technologic barriers for vulnerable populations to increase lung cancer early detection and survival rates.
  • Neil Box, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Denver: “Integrating Sun Damage Indicators in Melanoma Risk Modeling”—Dr. Box and his team will study how skin damaged by ultraviolet radiation can predict melanoma risk in children of a certain genetic makeup. Their work will identify high-risk groups and prove the value of tools in personalized melanoma prediction and prevention.
  • Awesome Games Done Quick Award: Sigrid Carlsson, MD, PhD, MPH, Assistant Attending Epidemiologist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York: “Improving Prostate Cancer Screening Using Innovative Technology”—Dr. Carlsson and her team developed an innovative computer technology to help primary care physicians use “smarter” screening for prostate cancer for men who are most likely to benefit. The aim of this study is to test the usefulness of this computerized decision support tool in a large primary care network.
  • Margie Clapper, PhD, Deputy Scientific Director, Professor, and Co-Leader, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, The Research Institute of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia: “Impact of Atorvastatin With or Without Aspirin on Colorectal Biomarkers in Patients with Lynch Syndrome: A Pilot Study”—Lynch syndrome is the most common genetic cause of colon cancer in people younger than age 50. Atorvastatin has reduced colon microadenomas dramatically in mice. Understanding the effect of atorvastatin with or without aspirin on colon biomarkers is critical to developing a preventive therapy for patients with Lynch syndrome.
  • The Shure Family Charitable Foundation Award: William Grady, MD, Professor, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle: “Dysbiotic Esophageal Microbiomes and Esophageal Cancer Risk”—These studies have the potential to identify cancer-causing esophageal bacteria, which could lead to novel and improved ways to prevent cancer through more accurate cancer risk prediction. The studies could also lead to novel antibiotic or probiotic cancer prevention treatments for esophageal cancer.
  • Marcia and Frank Carlucci Charitable Foundation Fellow Award:Natalia Heredia, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. “Culturally Tailored Lifestyle Intervention for Hispanic Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease”—The rate of new cases of liver cancer continues to increase in Hispanic individuals, partially due to a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Treatment includes weight loss, so helping Hispanic patients lose weight may prevent future cases of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease–related liver cancer.
  • Triad Foundation, LLC Award:Maro Ohanian, DO, Assistant Professor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston: “Detoxification of Environmental Metals to Prevent Acute Myeloid Leukemia”—Toxic metals are a modifiable risk factor associated with an increased cancer risk. Dr. Ohanian aims to reverse the carcinogenic effects of environmental/occupational metal exposures that can lead to acute myeloid leukemia by detoxifying metals in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (preleukemia) as a novel cancer prevention method.
  • Awesome Games Done Quick Award: Aayushi Uberoi, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: “Modulating Skin Microbiota-Host Interactions to Prevent UV-Induced Skin Cancer”—Although the skin microbiome encounters the same ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure as the skin, the effects of UVB on the skin microbiome are unexplored. Examination of host-microbiome interactions during UVB-associated skin cancers may uncover a novel class of biomarkers and therapeutics for prevention of skin cancer. 

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