Damon Runyon News

January 12, 2017

Trudy G. Oliver, PhD (Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovator ’13-’15), and colleagues at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, reported the generation of a new mouse model for studying small cell lung cancer (SCLC). They demonstrated that Myc oncogene expression cooperates with Rb1 and Trp53 loss in the mouse lung to promote aggressive, highly metastatic tumors that are initially sensitive to chemotherapy followed by relapse.

January 5, 2017

Feng Zhang, PhD (Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovator ‘12-‘14) of the Broad Institute, Cambridge, and colleagues, reported the discovery of new types of RNA-targeting CRISPR systems, which utilize a novel Cas enzyme called Cas13b. Cas13b is capable of targeting and degrading RNA (rather than DNA, which is targeted by previous CRISPR systems), which will enable researchers to specifically manipulate RNA in a high-throughput manner and manipulate gene function more broadly.

December 21, 2016

By Jean Singer of the Jake Wetchler Foundation


As he battled cancer at age 20, my son Jake Wetchler would often say, “Don’t let the cancer win.”  When he died, his father Jonathan Wetchler and I were determined to keep up the fight. Together we created the Jake Wetchler Foundation to fund innovative approaches to curing pediatric acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). But we didn’t know how to find the best research to support.


December 15, 2016

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation was launched 70 years ago today, with a call over the radio to all Americans.  Damon Runyon, the beloved creator of the Guys & Dolls characters, had died from cancer.  His friend, Walter Winchell, the most famous radio personality of his day, went on air and asked every American to send him their dimes, nickels and pennies to help cure cancer.  They did, and we’ve been making groundbreaking strides against cancer ever since.


December 9, 2016

N. Lynn Henry, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ’10-’15) of Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, presented a study demonstrating that a drug typically used to treat depression and anxiety (duloxetine/Cymbalta) can provide significant reductions in joint pain for women with early stage breast cancer. Many postmenopausal women are treated with aromatase inhibitors (AIs) that stop the production of estrogen and essentially starve hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells.

November 28, 2016

Elaine V. Fuchs, PhD (Damon Runyon Board Member, Damon Runyon Fellow ‘77-‘79) of The Rockefeller University, New York, was announced the recipient of the 2016 Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science. She is the 11th recipient of the Prize, which honors women scientists with a "stellar record" of research accomplishments who have made significant contributions to mentoring other women in science. Her innovative use of reverse genetics has helped redefine the study of skin diseases and cancer stem cells.


November 22, 2016

Damon Runyon staff interviewed Sergei German about his recent cancer journey and the role Damon Runyon scientists played in treating his disease.


Sergei German’s cancer journey started with a bump. More specifically, his wife noticed a small bump on his neck that was ultimately revealed to be follicular lymphoma, an incurable form of cancer.


November 15, 2016

Damon Runyon staff interviewed John Parker, MD, about his daughter Nicole’s cancer journey and the role Damon Runyon scientists played in treating her disease


Nicole Parker’s cancer symptoms began when she was 18 years old during a family ski vacation in Utah, when she complained to her father John, an obstetrician-gynecologist, about excruciating headaches. When the headaches persisted upon returning home to Florida, John took Nicole to a local hospital and had her fully examined. The attending physician ordered a CT scan and MRI.


November 9, 2016

Ash Alizadeh (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ’14-’17) and colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine reported that circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) profiling by non-invasive liquid biopsy reveals distinct patterns of clonal evolution and allows accurate classification of tumor subtypes in lymphoma patients. This enables insights into the biology of how an indolent disease transitions into an aggressive and often fatal disease.

November 8, 2016

Maura L. Gillison, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon-Lilly Clinical Investigator ‘00-‘05) of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine. This is one of the country’s highest and most prestigious honors in the fields of health and medicine. She is recognized for having made fundamental contributions to demonstrating the link between the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) and head and neck cancers.


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