Damon Runyon News

November 9, 2017

First- and third-year Damon Runyon Fellows look forward to our fall retreat as a time to come together from their separate labs around the country, meet their colleagues and share ideas. This September, Fellows gathered in Beverly, Massachusetts.


November 9, 2017

This month, Damon Runyon scientists published promising findings on “liquid biopsies.” This non-invasive method isolates and studies circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA)-- free-floating pieces of DNA found in blood plasma that are shed from tumor cells. These studies demonstrated that liquid biopsies are becoming an important tool for monitoring cancer progression, as well as identifying treatment strategies and drug resistance earlier than traditional approaches.

November 8, 2017

Ronald J. Buckanovich, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ’08-’11) of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues, have developed a process that can grow hundreds of cultured cell masses, called spheroids, from just a few tumor cells derived from a patient. This 3D method yields cells that grow and multiply just as they would inside the body. Currently, researchers are limited to two-dimensional cells grown in petri dishes, which often do not respond to medicines the same way as ovarian cancer cells inside the body.

November 2, 2017

Increasing evidence shows that diet plays a major role in the development of some cancers. Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ‘08-‘13), of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and colleagues, found that eating more fiber after colorectal cancer diagnosis is associated with a lower risk of dying from colorectal cancer.

October 30, 2017

Damon Runyon:

You and your wife Laura Grant Van Camp have supported three DR Innovators through Nadia’s Gift Foundation. Why is that important to you?


Peter Van Camp:

The opportunity to support Damon Runyon Innovators is important to me and my family as a way to honor the memory of my first wife, Nadia, who succumbed to cancer in 2010.  Nadia and I were married for 23 wonderful years. Unfortunately, as has become all too common for too many women, Nadia was diagnosed with breast cancer, and we fought her illness together for eight years.  There were some good times during those eight years, and some very brave times on Nadia’s part.  Although we lost Nadia’s battle, finding a cure to the cancer that would ultimately claim her became a meaningful purpose for us, and remains meaningful to me today.


October 26, 2017

GEORGE HILL, MD, became a Damon Runyon Fellow in the 1950’s, and recently reconnected with us at our 2017 Annual Breakfast. He was amazed to learn about the breadth of our innovative research projects.


Asked what advice he might give today’s Damon Runyon Fellows, he said, “The most important thing is to find a really, really good mentor. Science is done as a team; you can’t do it alone. You’ve got to find the best person who will make you work hard. It’s the only way to do it.”


George credits an inquisitive mind for leading him down a path that would take him from the farmlands of Iowa to Yale University and Harvard Medical School, and would ultimately earn him a Damon Runyon Fellowship in 1958, which helped launch a prolific career in oncology.


October 18, 2017

A new class of treatments called CAR-T therapy is providing options for patients who have all but lost hope in their fight against cancer. This form of immunotherapy is based on genetically enhancing a patient’s own immune cells to target and kill their cancer. The Food and Drug Administration approved Yescarta for adults with a form of blood cancer called non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

October 16, 2017

The National Academy of Medicine announced the election of 80 new members. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Damon Runyon congratulates the four alumni who were elected this year:


Scott A. Armstrong, MD, PhD (Clinical Investigator ’03-’08), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

October 5, 2017

The National Institutes of Health’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research program, funded 86 awards to exceptionally creative scientists proposing to use highly innovative approaches to tackle major challenges in biomedical research. The program is designed to accelerate scientific discovery by supporting high-risk research proposals. Applicants of the program are encouraged to think outside-the-box and to pursue exciting, trailblazing ideas.

October 5, 2017

Gordon J. Freeman, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellow ’79-’81), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, is one of five scientists honored by the 2017 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize for discoveries focused on “Immune Checkpoint Blockade and the Transformation of Cancer Therapy.” Collectively, their work has elucidated foundational mechanisms in cancer’s ability to evade immune recognition through the CTLA-4 and PD-1 pathways and, in doing so, has profoundly altered the understanding of disease development and treatment.

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