Damon Runyon News

August 14, 2017

They met on the dance floor at a party thrown by postdoctoral students from each of their labs at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and reconnected a couple months later at a genetics lecture. "And then she finally gave me her phone number!" says Steve.


August 2, 2017

By Michael Caligiuri, MD, President of the American Association for Cancer Research


It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the kind of strong national commitment that exists today to support medical research.


Of course, this enthusiasm is more than justified because of the large number of unprecedented research opportunities that are at the ready to propel us toward defeating cancer and the numerous other diseases that afflict so many Americans.


August 1, 2017

The FDA approved Idhifa for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the result of important contributions from Hai Yan, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Scholar ‘05-‘07), of Duke University Medical Center, Durham, and Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ‘13-‘16), of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. They made independent discoveries about mutations in the IDH2 gene and how these contribute to the development of AML.

July 26, 2017

By Nadia Halim, Damon Runyon Science Writer


After mounting excitement in the last five years over a revolutionary approach to cancer therapy, patients are one step closer to seeing CAR T immunotherapy approved by the FDA for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood cancer. The FDA’s 10-member advisory panel unanimously recommended Novartis Pharmaceuticals' experimental therapy (CTL019) be approved for use in children and young adults whose leukemia doesn't respond to traditional treatments — approximately 600 patients per year in this country.


July 21, 2017

Marcela V. Maus, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovator ’17-’18) at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, published results from her clinical trial with glioblastoma patients showing for the first time that CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T cells cross the blood-brain barrier to reach tumors and appeared to be safe. These CAR T cells were targeted to EGFR variant III in glioblastoma patients.

July 20, 2017

Fourteen years ago the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation approved an application for a Damon Runyon-Lilly Clinical Investigator Award by a young researcher named Jedd Wolchok, MD, PhD of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Jedd wanted to study an emerging field of research called immunotherapy. At the time, the field was in its infancy and had as many supporters as skeptics. But Damon Runyon’s support of Jedd proved prescient, and he became a leader in the study and application of immunotherapy to his field of melanoma research and treatment.


July 6, 2017

As a high school freshman, Peter Jauschnegg was something of a prodigy in varsity track & field.


But a day before his regional competition, the Maryland native suffered a seizure in his home that led to a diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He had a tumor on the base of his skull, involving critical blood vessels and exerting pressure on his brain.


July 5, 2017

Catherine J.Wu, MD (Current Damon Runyon Physician-Scientist Mentor and Clinical Investigator '07-'12) of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, has led one of the first studies that demonstrates the potential of personalized cancer vaccines. The study focused on six people with advanced melanoma, a type of skin cancer. The participants had surgery to remove their tumors, but about half of all such patients face a recurrence of cancer.

June 29, 2017

Marcela V. Maus, MD, PhD is a Damon Runyon Innovator at Massachusetts General Hospital and a featured speaker at our 2017 Annual Breakfast in New York earlier this month. Marcela has developed a way of engineering the body’s own immune T cells, so that they are re-directed to fight deadly brain tumors like glioblastoma. She began her remarks: “I want to introduce you to my favorite cell, the T cell. This is the cell I fell in love with before I even met my husband. It has these two amazing properties. It can kill, and it also has long-term memory. It has the potential to be curative, and it remembers what it’s seen before.”


June 23, 2017

Robyn Coles joined the Damon Runyon Board of Directors one year ago, and she’s more excited than ever about our approach to funding innovative cancer research.


Ms. Coles, you were elected to the Damon Runyon Board of Directors almost a year ago. How has your experience with us been so far?


Robyn Coles:  Damon Runyon is a real gem. The quality of scientists that the organization is able to identify for support is simply amazing. I have had the good fortune to follow the biotech industry since its infancy, studying it closely as an investor and out of fascination with the transformative impact it has.  Additionally, many of the scientists and CEOs in the life sciences have been longstanding family friends, and I have seen firsthand the impact scientists can have.  I am in awe that Damon Runyon has produced so many outstanding scientists, including 12 Nobel Laureates and countless Howard Hughes Investigators, whose science has contributed to the founding of dozens of biotech companies and ultimately life-saving medications.  This achievement has been accomplished on a fraction of the budget of other non-profit foundations.  It’s just truly impressive.


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