December 12, 2019

Four Projects Funded That Will Pave the Way For Novel Anti-Cancer Therapies

Over $1 million awarded in funding focused on the development of novel therapeutics

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research announced today that four research teams are the most recent ASPIRE Awards recipients.

The Mark Foundation is dedicated to accelerating cancer cures in part by facilitating the translation of laboratory research to the clinic.  In line with this philosophy, all four projects involve novel strategies for developing new anti-cancer therapies: a virus to shrink deadly brain tumors, a drug that targets the unique metabolism of tumors, a new class of drugs to stimulate the immune system, and fundamental research into the body’s stress response that could lead to therapeutic strategies to prevent metastasis.

Below are the projects funded, with links to full descriptions:

  • A University of Pittsburgh Medical Center study (Principal Investigator: Nduka Amankulor, MD) on a novel therapy that uses viruses engineered to destroy gliomas, deadly brain tumors that resist almost all treatments
  • A Weill Cornell Medicine and University of Michigan study (PIs: Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, and Costas A. Lyssiotis, PhD) that may lead to the development of targeted small-molecule drugs for pancreatic and other cancers
  • A Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory study (PI: Mikala Egeblad, PhD) aimed at untangling the connection between stress and metastatic cancer, which could lead to drugs that prevent metastasis by interfering with the stress response
  • A University of California, San Francisco study (PI: Kevan Shokat, PhD) exploring a new mechanism for drugs that may allow the immune system to recognize cancerous tumor cells with mutant variants of the KRAS gene so they can be eliminated

The ASPIRE (Accelerating Scientific Platforms and Innovative Research) program funds high risk, high reward approaches to solving complex problems in cancer research that tend to fall outside the scope of other funding opportunities. ASPIRE awards are designed to answer key proof-of-concept questions in a short timeframe.

For additional information about The Mark Foundation’s ASPIRE Awards, visit:

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