Foundation Awards $4.45M to More Than 50 Leading Investigators to Support Promising Research Careers

-This year marks 30 years of advancing cancer research and care through the Foundation’s Grants and Awards Program-


CONTACT: Kate Blackburn

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Today the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) announces the more than 50 recipients of its 2013 Young Investigator Awards (YIA), Career Development Awards (CDA), and Advanced Clinical Research Award (ACRA) in Breast Cancer. Also of significance is the endowment of three newly created YIAs by generous Foundation supporters. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is endowing a YIA in memory of Evelyn H. Lauder, the organization’s visionary founder who brought breast cancer to the forefront of public awareness.  In addition, the endowment of a YIA in memory of John R. Durant, MD, past president of ASCO and its first-ever executive vice president, is being supported by Celgene, and a third award is being supported through The Sally Gordon YIA Endowment Fund. Among the topics being studied by the 2013 YIA, CDA and ACRA grantees are obesity, inflammation and breast cancer progression; emotional well-being after adolescent or young adult cancer; novel biomarkers in pediatric sarcoma; and multiplex genetic testing for breast cancer susceptibility. The recipients will be presented with these awards at the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting May 31 - June 4 in Chicago.

“For 30 years the Conquer Cancer Foundation has proudly supported the careers of bright young investigators conducting high quality research, such as that being conducted by this year’s award recipients,” said W. Charles Penley, MD, FASCO, Chair of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors. “These eager and ambitious researchers will continue to fuel the progress we are making against cancer, now and into the future.”

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Grants and Awards Program through which the Foundation has been advancing cancer research and care worldwide. The Foundation has supported the careers of young researchers and practice changing clinical and translational research since awarding its first YIA in 1984. With the awarding of the 2013 class of recipients, the Foundation will have distributed $83 million in research grants to more than 1,000 researchers around the world ($30 million through the YIA program alone) in the last three decades.  

Among the ways the Foundation Grants and Awards Program supports practice changing clinical research is through the Advanced Clinical Research Award, which funds investigators who are committed to conducting original clinical research in an area not currently funded. The 2013 ACRA in Breast Cancer recipient is Angela Bradbury, MD, of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bradbury will research the risks, benefits and utilities of multiplex genetic testing (testing for multiple genetic mutations simultaneously) for breast cancer susceptibility. Through her research, Dr. Bradbury aims to fill the void between available multiplex testing for lesser known breast cancer gene mutations, such as PalB2, CHEK2 and PTEN and patient experience and clinical utility of these tests. She seeks to address the urgent need to advance gene discoveries into clinical practice in a way that benefits health and minimizes risks for cancer patients, which also accommodating individuals’ preferences for genomic information.  This grant is supported by The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Another critical component of the Grants and Awards Program for budding scientists is the Career Development Award,which provides funding to young cancer doctors who have recently received a faculty appointment at an academic center to perform patient-oriented cancer research. This year’s nine CDA recipients will each receive a $200,000 three-year grant. Notably, six were formerly supported by a Young Investigator Award while working to complete their medical training. The 2013CDA recipients and their research projects are:

  • Roisin Connolly, MBBS, Johns Hopkins University
    “A phase 2 clinical trial assessing the correlation of early changes in standardized uptake value (SUV) on positron emission tomography (PET) with pathological complete response (pCR) to neoadjuvant pertuzumab and trastuzumab in women with primary operable HER2-positive breast cancer”
    Award supported by The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • Rebecca Gardner, MD, Seattle Children’s Hospital
    “Autologous T cells genetically modified to express a CD19 specific chimeric antigen receptor to treat pediatric relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia”
  • Yelena Janjigian, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “Overcoming trastuzumab resistance in ERBB2 amplified esophagogastric cancer”
  • Christopher Lieu, MD, University of Colorado Denver
    “A patient selective randomized phase II trial comparing the novel MEK inhibitor, TAK-733, to standard of care chemotherapy in patients with advanced KRAS mutant colorectal cancer”
  • Roisin O’Cearbhaill, MBBCh, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “A phase I clinical trial of cyclophosphamide followed by intravenous and intraperitoneal infusion of autologous T cells genetically engineered to secrete IL-12 and to target the MUC16 antigen in patients with recurrent MUC16+ ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer”
  • Daniel Pollyea, MD, MS, University of Colorado Denver
    “Novel therapeutic combinations with lenalidomide  for relapsed and refractory leukemias”
  • Ran Reshef, MD, University of Pennsylvania
    “Separating the graft-versus-host and graft-versus-tumor responses by blocking lymphocyte chemotaxis”
  • Nader Sanai, MD, St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center
    “Phase 0 study of wee1 small molecular inhibitor in recurrent glioblastoma patients scheduled for resection to evaluate central nervous system penetration”
  • Veena Shankaran, MD, MS, University of Washington
    “Implementation of a prospective financial impact assessment tool in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer”

 A third key opportunity for young cancer doctors is the Young Investigator Award, which provides research funding during the final years of a doctor’s medical training to encourage an interest in research and jumpstart their careers as  physician-scientists.  This year’s YIA recipients will each receive a one-year grant of $50,000 to fund their investigative studies as they begin their careers in oncology research. The 2013 recipients and their research projects are:

  • Wendy Allen-Rhoades, MD, Baylor College of Medicine
    “Investigating novel biomarkers in pediatric osteosarcoma”
    Award supported by the WWWW Foundation, Inc. (QuadW) and The Sarcoma Fund of the QuadW Foundation
  • Zubin Bamboat, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “A phase II study of neoadjuvant EGFR/HER2/HER4 blockade in early stage, HER2+ gastric and gastroesophageal (GE) junction adenocarcinomas”
  • Ami Bhatt, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Sequencing-based pathogen discovery in idiopathic post-stem cell transplantation syndromes”
  • Kira Bona, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Material hardship in families of children with cancer”
    Award supported by the Strike 3 Foundation
  • Rohit Bose, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “Unique vulnerabilities of ETS positive prostate cancer”
    Award supported by the Conquer Cancer Foundation Mission Endowment
  • Gabriel Brooks, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Identifying potentially avoidable hospitalizations in patients with cancer”
  • Young Kwang Chae, MD, MPH, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    “Integrated proteomic profiling of MDS and AML to identify “AML-Like” cases of MDS: prognostic and therapeutic implications”
    Award supported by the Conquer Cancer Foundation and American Association for Cancer Research
  • Curtis Chong, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Short-term organotypic “slice cultures” to assess lung cancer tumor susceptibility to targeted therapy”
  • Ben Creelan, MD, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute
    “Evading immune destruction: determining relevance of protein nitrosylation in human tumors”
    Award supported by the Florida Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Adam Crystal, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General  Hospital
    “A combination drug approach for treating EML4-ALK+ NSCLC with acquired resistance to crizotinib”
    Award supported by The Sally Gordon YIA Endowment Fund
  • Andrea Enzinger, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Characteristics of effective end-of-life communication”
  • Aaron Hansen, MBBS, Princess Margaret Hospital
    “Genomic profiling procedures and methods to evaluate clonal evolution and tumor heterogeneity”
  • Saima Hassan, MD, PhD, University of Toronto
    “Genomic prediction of response to PARP inhibition in breast cancer patients guided by a tumor-microenvironment high-throughput model”
    Award supported by the Evelyn H. Lauder YIA Endowment Fund
  • Aaron Hata, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General  Hospital
    “Suppression of apoptosis as a mechanism of acquired resistance to kinase inhibitors in non-small cell lung cancer”
    Award supported by the Conquer Cancer Foundation Mission Endowment
  • Heather Helton, MD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
    “Biologic and clinical implications of ETV6 genomic variations in AML”
    Award supported by the Strike 3 Foundation
  • Neil Iyengar, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “Obesity, inflammation and breast cancer progression”
    Award supported by The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • Elizabeth Kessler, MD, University of Colorado Cancer Center
    “The prospective effects of androgen deprivation therapy on physical function and comprehensive geriatric health in older men with prostate cancer”
  • Joseph Kim, MD, National Cancer Institute
    “Evaluating the impact of enzalutamide on production of naïve T cells and its implication for vaccine combination”
  • Hans Lee, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    “Novel approaches targeting deletion 17p myeloma”
  • Piro Lito, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “Evaluation of ERK-dependent feedback factors as biomarkers of response to RAF inhibitor therapy”
  • Yohann Loriot, MD, MSc, Vancouver Prostate Centre
    “Mechanisms of resistance to enzalutamide (MDV3100) in castration-resistant prostate cancer models”
  • Filipa Lynce, MD, MedStar Health Research Institute
    “A pilot study evaluating the cardiac safety of HER2 targeted therapy in patients”
    Award supported by The Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • Matthew McKinney, MDDuke University Medical Center
    “Overcoming resistance to histone deacetylase inhibitors in non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)”
  • Van Morris, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    “Epigenetics of BRAF-mutated colorectal cancer”
  • Lori Muffly, MD, The University of Chicago
    “Suffering before the cure: psychological morbidity in adolescents and young adults with hematologic malignancies in early survivorship”
    Award supported by ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation Boards of Directors
  • Mandar Muzumdar, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Investigating mechanisms of K-ras-independent growth in pancreatic cancer”
  • Paul Oberstein, MD, Columbia University Medical Center
    “Evaluation of the therapeutic effect of a small molecule inhibitor of the oncoprotein BMI1 in pancreatic cancer”
    Award supported by the Conquer Cancer Foundation Mission Endowment
  • Parvin Fatheddin Peddi, MD, University of California, Los Angeles
    “HER2 gene polymorphism (Ile655Val): Correlation with prognosis and cardiac toxicity in breast cancer patients treated with trastuzumab”
    Award supported by the Don Shula Foundation, Inc.
  • Michael Postow, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “Combining ipilimumab with radiotherapy for patients with metastatic melanoma”
    Award supported by the Journal of Clinical Oncology
  • Raju Raval, MD, DPhil,  Johns Hopkins University
    “Radiosensitization of malignant tumors utilizing siRNA-aptamer chimeras targeting the cancer cell surface receptors EGFRand HER2”
  • Supriya Saha, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General  Hospital
    “Targeting mutant IDH1 in a murine model of cholangiocarcinoma”
    Award supported by The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation
  • César Serrano, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
    “Cycling multi-kinase inhibitors in imatinib-resistant GIST to maximize clinical response”
  • Armin Shahrokni, MD, MPH, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
    “I-CAN by skype navigators; improving health-related outcome of post-op elderly patients with colorectal cancer; implementation & RCT”
  • Nathan Sheets, MD, MS, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    “The impact of the availability of new surgical technology in a local community on referral patterns and receipt of care for localized prostate cancer, analysis of SEER-medicare data”
    Award supported by the ASCO Clinical Practice Committee and the ASCO State Affiliate Council
  • John Paul Shen, MD, University of California, San Diego
    “Improving outcomes in ovarian cancer: a network genomics approach”
  • Alan Shih, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “IDH inhibitors in preclinical models of leukemia”
  • Gabriela Soriano, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “Evaluation of the efficacy of the Hsp90 inhibitor, AUY922, in Myelofibrosis, Refractory Polycythemia Vera and Refractory Essential Thrombocythemia”
  • Alexander Stessin, MD, PhD, New York Presbyterian Hospital
    “Evaluating FTY720 as a neuroprotective agent during cranial irradiation”
  • Eliezer Van Allen, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    “Dissecting clinical resistance to PI3K inhibitors in PIK3CA or PTEN-mutant cancers”
    Award supported by the Kidney Cancer Association
  • Justin Watts, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “Telomere dysfunction in acute myeloid leukemia (AML): what is the association with karyotype, mutational profile, and outcome?”
  • Elizabeth Won, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “Improving nutrition and tolerability of chemoradiotherapy in older patients with esophageal cancer”
  • Dmitriy Zamarin, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    “Immunotherapeutic approach to cancer treatment integrating oncolytic virotherapy and immune checkpoint regulation”
  • Amer Zeidan, MBBS, Johns Hopkins University
    “A phase 1b study of ipilimumab in relapsed and refractory high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia with minimal residual disease”
  • Joshua Zeidner, MD, Johns Hopkins University
    “Phase 1 study of anti-programmed death-1 (PD-1) for relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) post-allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation”
    Award supported by The John R. Durant, MD, YIA Endowment Fund   

Supporting Organizations

The 2013 YIAs and CDAs are made possible by the generous support of:

AbbVie; American Association for Cancer Research; Amgen; ASCO and Conquer Cancer Foundation Boards of Directors;ASCO Clinical Practice Committee; ASCO State Affiliate Council; Astellas; The Breast Cancer Research Foundation; Celgene Corporation; The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation; Conquer Cancer Foundation; Conquer Cancer Foundation Mission Endowment; Conquer Cancer Foundation Grants Selection Committee; Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.; Don Shula Foundation, Inc.; Eisai Inc.; Florida Society of Clinical Oncology; Genentech BioOncology™; Gilead Sciences Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline Oncology;Journal of Clinical Oncology; Kidney Cancer Association; Lilly USA, LLC; Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company; Novartis Oncology; Onyx Pharmaceuticals; Pfizer Oncology; Roche; Strike 3 Foundation; and WWWW Foundation, Inc. (QuadW) and The Sarcoma Fund of the QuadW Foundation.