Damon Runyon Blog

February 24, 2017

Megan Insco, MD, PhD, Damon Runyon Fellow at Boston Children's Hospital


When I was in 7th grade, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was devastated and directionless.  When she passed away two years later, my broad set of interests resolved around a singular focus.  I would channel my passion for discovery and my need to see my work manifest productively in the world, into a career discovering and delivering life-enhancing therapies for cancer patients. 


February 16, 2017

Today we realize that cancer is not a single disease, but something unique to each individual. Even within a single tumor there is complexity and diversity unrecognized just a decade ago.


Employing this knowledge, along with emerging technological advances, will lead to fundamental changes in the patient population. To this end, more sensitive and specific diagnostics will greatly reduce the number of late-stage cancer diagnoses. This early detection, along with an increasing breadth of cancer therapeutics, will revolutionize the way we assess clinical outcomes.


February 14, 2017

An important reason why the United States is the global leader in biomedical research is that many of the best scientific minds from around the world come here to train and work.  If you walked into any leading US research laboratory today, you would meet scientists from many countries working together as a team to solve the greatest scientific challenge of all time – understanding human biology and ending suffering from disease.  These labs are meritocracies and melting pots.  Most importantly, they generate knowledge that drives our entire health care enterprise and saves lives.


February 7, 2017

By Victoria E.H. Wang, MD, PhD, Damon Runyon Fellow, University of California, San Francisco


The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation recently asked some of our current award recipients how cancer will be prevented, diagnosed, and/or treated differently in the future. What can a future cancer patient, say 10-20 years from now, expect to experience? Their responses were fascinating, and over the next few months we will share their visions for the future on this blog.


February 3, 2017

Lorraine W. Egan, President and CEO, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation


Gregg Gordon was 44 and the picture of health until he suddenly became excessively tired and noticed two small bumps on his shin. A visit to his doctor led to a startling cancer diagnosis, and less than 24 hours later he was receiving chemotherapy to treat acute myeloid leukemia.


When standard treatments failed, Gregg’s best hope was a bone marrow transplant, but he could not find a donor match. Fortunately, he was referred to Colleen Delaney, MD, in Seattle, who had developed a process for expanding stem cells from umbilical cord blood for use in patients without donors. As The Washington Post reported in September, the procedure was a success and Gregg has been cancer-free for five years. 


January 31, 2017

By Brian Shirts MD, PhD, Damon Runyon Innovator, University of Washington


The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation recently asked some of our current award recipients how cancer will be prevented, diagnosed, and/or treated differently in the future. What can a future cancer patient, say 10-20 years from now, expect to experience? Their responses were fascinating, and over the next few months we will share their visions for the future on this blog.


January 27, 2017

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF Dr. Amit Sabnis treats pediatric hematology and oncology patients“The highs are much higher than the lows,” he said.  His training in pediatric oncology has taught him how to help  patients and their families find hope, make plans for the future and live the best life they can.  “Many times that involves a period of hard treatment and then a cure,” he said.


Thanks to support from the Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellowship, Amit is not only caring for his patients in the clinic but also developing better treatments for them in the lab.  He is researching metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a rare muscle cancer that affects children.  Treatment for advanced RMS has not advanced in decades.


January 27, 2017

Peter Van Camp and his wife Laura Grant Van Camp are supporters of the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award program through the Nadia’s Gift Foundation.  Peter also serves on the Damon Runyon Board of Directors, Scientific Committee and the Bay Area Committee.


Peter and Laura Van Camp believe Damon Runyon’s targeted strategy of supporting the best young scientists tackling innovative cancer research is a perfect match for the Bay Area.  A tech leader himself, Peter equates the Damon Runyon approach with Silicon Valley’s ethos of investing in innovators creating disruptive business models. “Their elite scientific board focused on funding top minds doing high risk-high reward research, coupled with a donor’s ability to develop a personal relationship with scientists they support, makes Damon Runyon unique,” Peter said.  Laura finds it compelling to “come in on the ground floor and see the impact their giving makes in real time.”   


January 27, 2017

By Arvin C. Dar, PhD, Damon Runyon Innovator, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation recently asked some of our current award recipients how cancer will be prevented, diagnosed, and/or treated differently in the future. What can a future cancer patient, say 10-20 years from now, expect to experience? Their responses were fascinating, and over the next few months we will share their visions for the future on this blog.


January 24, 2017

By Giada Bianchi, MD, Damon Runyon-Celgene Physician-Scientist


The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation recently asked some of our current award recipients how cancer will be prevented, diagnosed, and/or treated differently in the future. What can a future cancer patient, say 10-20 years from now, expect to experience? Their responses were fascinating, and over the next few months we will share their visions for the future on this blog.