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Four New Teams Receive $100M to Take on Cancer's Toughest Challenges


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Representing a total investment of $100 million, the following teams are the first to be funded through the partnership between Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute in the United States. These teams join the Cancer Grand Challenges community, which now unites more than 700 researchers and advocates to take on 10 challenges, comprising 11 teams and 10 countries.

  • The CANCAN team will take on the Cachexia challenge. Led by Eileen White, PhD, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Marcus DaSilva Goncalves, MD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Tobias Janowitz, MD, PhD, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and uniting investigators across the United States and United Kingdom, the team will develop a deeper understanding of this debilitating wasting condition, which often occurs in the later stages of cancer, and identify urgently needed therapies.
  • The eDyNAmiC team will take on the Extrachromosomal DNA challenge. Led by Paul Mischel, MD, Stanford Medicine, and uniting investigators across the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany, the team will identify new ways to target this important driver of tumor metabolism, which is present in approximately one-third of cancers, and develop therapies for some of the hardest types of cancer to treat.
  • The NexTGen team will take on the Solid Tumors in Children challenge. Led by Catherine Bollard, MD, Children’s National Hospital, and Martin Pule, MD, University College London, and uniting investigators across the United States, United Kingdom, and France, the team hopes to deepen our understanding of childhood tumors’ unique vulnerabilities to develop next-generation chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapies for children with brain tumors and sarcoma. The NexTGen team is also supported by The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research.
  • The PROMINENT team will take on the Normal Phenotypes challenge. Led by Allan Balmain, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, Paul Brennan, PhD, International Agency for Research on Cancer, and Nuria Lopez-Bigas, PhD, Institute for Research in Biomedicine Barcelona, with investigators across the United States, France, and Spain, the team will explore an alternative model of carcinogenesis, the promoter concept, in which cells are initiated by mutations but remain dormant until a promoting factor such as inflammation triggers the process to malignancy. They will then build a “roadmap” of early cancer development, looking for new routes to prevention. The PROMINENT team is also generously supported by Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer.

“The hallmark of a Cancer Grand Challenge is an obstacle that’s just out of our grasp. Some push the frontiers of our knowledge, while others seek to break down barriers that have slowed progress for decades. All hold the potential to drive forward advances at a scale that could transform outcomes for people with cancer,” said Sir David Lane, FRCP, FRCSE, FMedSci, FRS, FRSE, Chair of the Cancer Grand Challenges Scientific Committee. “We're delighted to be working with a global network of partners who share our aspirations to drive change, supporting four new teams to take on four of the most important challenges in cancer research.”

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.
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