Damon Runyon News

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.


January 18, 2017

By Daniel Webster, PhD, Damon Runyon-Philip O’Bryan Montgomery Jr. MD Fellow


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 13, 2017

Elaine V. Fuchs, PhD (Damon Runyon Board Member, Damon Runyon Fellow ‘77-‘79) and Shruti Naik, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellow ’14-’18) at The Rockefeller University, New York, and colleagues, found that skin squamous cell carcinomas alter the protein-making machinery to preferentially use tumor-related mRNAs, leading to the production of proteins important for cancer progression. This switch is linked to a ribosome initiation factor called eIF2 and transition initiation factor eIF2A.

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.

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