DF/HCC Awards Announced
DF/HCC offers a multitude of funding opportunities to its members to encourage and enhance the collaborative spirit of research within the Harvard-affiliated medical community. Among these funding opportunities are several targeted research awards. The following awards to DF/HCC members were recently announced:
Nodal AwardsNodal Awards support pilot projects that foster collaborations between DF/HCC members and programs, as well as research that addresses issues relevant to the unequal burden of cancer and cancer outcomes in diverse populations. Nodal awards are a maximum of $75,000 per year for two years ($150,000 in total direct costs), with full indirect costs, and a number of these awards are given in each fiscal year. Two awards were announced in the last quarter:
- Targeting of Leukemia Stem Cells by T-cells Educated by Dendritic Cell/AML Fusions and Anti-CD3/CD28
PI: David Avigan, MD (BIDMC)
Collaborators: Richard Stone, MD (DFCI) and Jacalyn Rosenblatt, MD (BIDMC)
Patients with AML frequently achieve remission via chemotherapy but subsequently develop chemotherapy resistant disease. The cause of this disease is the self-renewal of leukemia stem cells, which appear to be quite resistant to standard chemotherapy. Cellular immunotherapies represent a promising alternative for successfully targeting these cells. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of several cellular immunotherapies – Dendritic Cell/AML fusions and anti-CD3/CD28 – to target leukemia stem cells and antigens, and to assess whether repeated applications of such therapies produce an expansion of AML specific T cells.
- Building Capacity to Monitor the Impact of Genetically-Tailored Prevention and Treatment on Cancer Disparities
PI: Alexandra Shields, PhD (MGH)
Collaborators: David Christiani, MD (HSPH), Judy Garber, MD (DFCI) and Sapna Syngal, MD (BWH)
Genomic medicine is a promising new tool for improving health outcomes. However, the impact of genomic medicine on the health of vulnerable populations and health disparities remains relatively unclear, as few studies have been conducted to examine the topic. This pilot project will develop strategies to utilize information-rich national administrative databases to assess patients’ access to, utilization of, and impact from genetically-customized cancer prevention and treatment methods, as well as their ability to access appropriate follow-up care. Data will be analyzed in a variety of ways, but with a particular focus on disparities (by race, ethnicity, and by commercially- vs. Medicaid-insured patients.
DF/HCC Timely Special Opportunity Awards
Timely Special Opportunity (TSO) Awards enhance the ability of program leaders and core directors to respond to new time-sensitive projects or opportunities that will contribute to their program or core. Projects might involve new technology development, the purchase of a piece of equipment not planned for in the annual budgeting process, or programmatic research opportunities of a timely nature.
TSO Awards are a maximum of $10,000, including full indirect costs. A number of these awards are given out each year, and DF/HCC members may apply for this type of funding at any time. One TSO Award was recently announced:
- Defining the precise role of the mammalian chromatin factor SIRT6 in DNA repair and metabolism (Cancer Genetics Program)
PI: Raul Mostoslavsky, MD, PhD (MGH)
SIRT6 is a chromatin protein that plays a key role in maintaining genomic stability and is therefore of special interest to genetic researchers. However, its precise molecular role remains unclear. Using gene-expression profiling, this study will test whether SIRT6 may affect insulin-signaling responses and DNA repair – both of which have been linked to the development of tumors.
DF/HCC Faculty Diversity Funding Award
The Faculty Diversity Funding Awards provides pilot project funding for existing DF/HCC under-represented or minority faculty who are doing innovative cancer research. Faculty Diversity Funding Awards are a maximum of $75,000 to be used in one year, and DF/HCC members may apply for this award at any time. One Faculty Diversity Funding Award was recently announced:
- Targeting Deregulated Wnt Signaling in Cancer Using Stabilized Alpha-Helices of BCL9
PI: Ruben Carrasco, MD, PhD (DFCI)
This study examines the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in the progression of various types of cancer. In collaboration with Loren Walensky, MD, PhD (DFCI), a Stabilized Alpha-Helix of the HD2 domain of BCL9 will be developed, characterized, and tested. Based on findings that shRNA knockdown of BCL9 enhances survival in a Xenograft mouse model of cancer and the available crystal structure of a β-catenin/BCL9/Tcf-4 triple complex, the project will determine whether these stabilized alpha-helices of the HD2 domain of BCL9 can disrupt BCL9/ β-catenin interaction in cancer patients with deregulated Wnt signaling.