Damon Runyon Blog

March 29, 2017

By Michael W. Drazer, MD, Damon Runyon Physician Scientist at the University of Chicago


Physician-scientists are uniquely positioned to identify the next generation of scientific breakthroughs and then efficiently translate these discoveries into clinically effective, life-changing therapies for people with cancer. This unique set of opportunities, however, is accompanied by a distinct set of obstacles that confront early career physician-scientists in the scientific and clinical realms. These challenges include financial debt from years of professional training, a lack of protected time for the development of scientifically sound, ambitious research programs, low salaries during years of extended training, and an increasingly unstable and unpredictable funding environment for biomedical research at the national level.


March 21, 2017

By Yi Yin, PhD, Damon Runyon Fellow, 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.


I think cancer will be prevented, diagnosed and/or treated very differently within the next 10-20 years.


March 2, 2017

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.


By Amanda Balboni, PhD, Damon Runyon Sohn Fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


In the next 10-20 years, I anticipate that tumor genetic testing will become standard practice as sequencing technology becomes faster and more cost effective. This will revolutionize the way cancer is treated clinically and make personalized cancer medicine a reality. 


February 24, 2017

By 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.