Damon Runyon News

September 20, 2016

Lorraine Egan, President & Chief Executive Officer, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation


A recent article in Nature, “The Unsung Heroes of CRISPR,” highlights the special role of young scientists in research breakthroughs.  They are “unsung,” because they rarely get the credit they deserve for being important drivers of innovation in research.  But they are crucial to progress against cancer and other biomedical research.


It made me think of Lin Manuel Miranda, the celebrated creator of Hamilton, who won his first Tony in 2008, when he was 28.  He is a classic example of a young person breaking the mold.  History is replete with stories of bold innovation by young minds.  Take Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to name two other contemporary examples.  The same is true in biomedical research.  In fact, the majority of Nobel Prizes in science have gone to individuals who made their prize-winning discovery before they were 40.


September 14, 2016

Yung S. Lie, PhD, Deputy Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation


Public support for basic scientific research is essential, as it can help insure that brilliant young people continue to enter the sciences and dedicate their careers to cancer research. It can also insure that there will always be another Bill Kaelin in the pipeline.


Bill is a trailblazing physician-scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a member of our Board of Directors, and a winner of the 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his work on the pathway by which cells sense and adapt to changes in oxygen levels. The Boston Globe lauded the significance of Bill’s contributions to science and observed that, “This work on oxygen sensing has led to the development of potential drugs for heart attack, stroke, and kidney cancer, as well as possible treatments for anemia and retinopathy of prematurity, a condition that can blind premature infants.”


September 13, 2016

Congratulations to the six researchers named recipients of The Lasker Awards, among the most respected prizes in medicine. William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD (Damon Runyon Board Member, Chair of the Physician-Scientist Training Award Committee) of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, received the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his work to understand the pathway cells use to sense and adapt to changes in oxygen levels which led to the development of potential drugs for heart attack, stroke, and kidney cancer. Bruce M.

September 12, 2016

Lorraine Egan, President & Chief Executive Officer, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation


We look at cancer research from a different vantage point than most.  We are uniquely focused on the people that make breakthroughs happen.  They are the most important explorers of our generation, and our unsung heroes.

The goal of this new blog from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation is multi-faceted.  We will highlight the important discoveries being made, from the most basic to those directly impacting patients.  We will discuss what we see working in biomedical research, as well as impediments that need disruptive ideas.  Most importantly, we will put the scientists dedicated to this work front and center.  Who are they?  What new ideas do they have?  What motivates them? What challenges do they face?  Our goal is to bring them and their bold, innovative work into the light with the hope that it inspires our generation to be the one that ends suffering from all forms of cancer.


September 9, 2016

Arvin C. Dar, PhD (Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovator '14-'16) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, reported that a “scaffolding protein” called the kinase suppressor of Ras (KSR) could be targeted as a way to disrupt signaling from mutant Ras protein. About 25 percent of human cancers have mutations in the Ras protein that disrupt growth signals and cause tumor development.  The researchers tested over 170 compounds and discovered that one could effectively slow cancer growth.

September 7, 2016

Colleen Delaney, MD, MSc (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ’07-’12) and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, developed a method for using umbilical cord stem cells as a source of donor material for transplant. This is important because the majority of patients in need of a hematopoietic-cell transplant do not have a matched related donor. The advance is particularly valuable for minorities and people of mixed-race background.

July 20, 2016

Amit J. Sabnis, MD (Damon Runyon-Sohn Pediatric Cancer Fellow ’13-’17), of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues, demonstrated that cancer cells co-opt a cellular “chaperone” protein called HSP70 (heat-shock protein 70) to promote their growth. By blocking that pathway, the scientists were able to kill cells derived from patients with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a rare muscle-tissue cancer that affects children.

July 14, 2016

Pavan Bachireddy, MD (Damon Runyon Physician-Scientist ’15-’19), Catherine J. Wu, MD (Damon Runyon-Lilly Clinical Investigator ’07-’12), and colleagues at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, reported that a new treatment approach, using repeated doses of the immunotherapy drug ipilimumab, may be able to restore a complete remission for some patients with advanced blood cancers that relapse after stem-cell transplant.

July 6, 2016

Daniel A. Heller, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellow ’10-’12), and colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, reported that radiation-guided nanoparticles may offer a new approach for penetrating the vascular barrier that often prevents current nanomedicines from reaching metastatic tumors. In a mouse model of lung cancer and metastatic melanoma and breast tumors, the nanoparticles selectively delivered chemotherapy drugs to the tumors. The researchers hope to translate these findings to clinical trials.

May 30, 2016

Damon Runyon Clinical Investigators Aude G. Chapuis, MD (’15-’17) of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Cassian Yee, MD (’01-’06), of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD (’03-’08), of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and colleagues, have successfully treated a patient with metastatic melanoma by combining two different types of immunotherapy, harnessing the patient’s own immune system to attack and destroy the cancer.

  • Support the next generation of researchers.