Damon Runyon Blog

April 26, 2017

The following Op Ed by Ralph J. DeBerardinis, MD, PhD, a Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator, appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on April 14, 2017


THE WHITE HOUSE recently proposed slashing support to the National Institutes of Health, the federal agency funding thousands of health-related research projects in the United States. I direct a clinic and research laboratory developing cures for cancer and childhood genetic diseases. My lab runs on NIH funds, and I'm writing to outline why these cuts will be disastrous for our long-term prospects for health.


April 21, 2017

By Peter J. Turnbaugh, Damon-Runyon Innovator


For our 70th Anniversary Annual Report, we 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.


Cancer is notoriously hard to treat due to the severity of side effects and the high rate of relapse. While one patient may show a miraculous recovery, the next may show very little response or have an adverse drug outcome. Polymorphisms in the human genome are important, but they can fail to explain most of the observed variation in treatment outcomes. Far less attention has been paid to our “second genome”, the microbiome—comprising the trillions of microbes that thrive in and on the human body.


April 11, 2017

Shruti Naik, PhD, Damon Runyon Fellow, Rockefeller University 


I was recently asked by Lorraine Egan to serve on a panel for women in STEM at her daughter’s school. The girls’ enthusiasm and curiosity for science was unmistakable. “How do you design an experiment?”, “What do you like about research?”, “How do you identify mentors?”. Their ardent inquiries were nothing but reassuring. I thought, “If these girls represent the future, then the future of women in science is secure!” Enjoying this blissful moment I walked back to my research institute and was promptly jolted back to reality.


April 7, 2017

Supporters of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation have been steadfast in their support of our work to identify and enable new generations of the most promising young scientists across the nation so that cancer research will continue to have an influx of brilliant and creative researchers with fresh ideas who are capable of making the next breakthrough against this devastating disease.


This pipeline of new talent is increasingly at risk, all the more so given the new administration’s proposal to cut the National Institutes of Health's budget for next year by 20 percent, and more recently by suggesting an immediate $1.2 billion cut.


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.


  • Support the next generation of researchers.