Damon Runyon News

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 25, 2017

Gregory L. Beatty, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon-Nadia’s Gift Foundation Innovator ’12-’15) and colleagues at the Abramson Cancer Center at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, reported high levels of inflammatory compounds in mice with pancreatic tumors. These included CCL2, a signaling molecule that promotes recruitment of inflammatory white blood cells by tumors. This likely contributes to the protective tumor microenvironment that makes most pancreatic tumors resistant to treatment.

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.


January 24, 2017

Theodora S. Ross, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Scholar ’01-’03), and colleagues at UT Southwestern, Dallas, reported that the BRCA1 gene is required for the survival of blood forming stem cells. This could explain why patients with BRCA1 mutations do not have an elevated risk for leukemia; the stem cells die before they have an opportunity to transform into a blood cancer. These results also suggest that these patients may be at higher risk for the serious side effects of chemotherapy. The study was published in Cell Reports.


January 23, 2017

Pardis C. Sabeti, MD, DPhil (Damon Runyon Fellow ‘04-‘06) of Harvard University, Cambridge, will receive the 2017 Richard Lounsbery Award from the National Academy of Sciences.

January 23, 2017

Elaine V. Fuchs, PhD (Damon Runyon Board Member, Damon Runyon Fellow ‘77-‘79) of The Rockefeller University, New York, has been named the recipient of the 2017 McEwen Award for Innovation. The prize, given by the International Society for Stem Cell Research, recognizes groundbreaking work pertaining to stem cells or regenerative medicine. Dr. Fuchs studies adult skin stem cells, how they make and repair tissues, and how cancers develop.


January 23, 2017

Akinyemi I. Ojesina, MBBS, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellow ’08-’11), of University of Alabama at Birmingham, worked with The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network to identify novel genomic and molecular characteristics of cervical cancer that will aid in the subclassification of the disease and may help define personalized therapies for each individual patient.

January 20, 2017

By Ralph Kleiner, PhD, Damon Runyon - Dale F. Frey Breakthrough Scientist; Assistant Professor, Princeton University


As a chemical biologist, my work is motivated by a desire to understand the natural world. While pursuing basic research may seem far removed from the clinic, fundamental advances in our molecular understanding of biology have transformed our ability to diagnose and treat cancer as well as other diseases. Since scientific progress is often slow and can follow a circuitous path, it is absolutely critical that organizations like Damon Runyon are willing to play the ‘long game’, and invest in early stage and basic research.


  • Support the next generation of researchers.