Damon Runyon News

April 25, 2016

Azad Bonni, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellow ’96-’97) of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and colleagues, were the first to show that a protein called OSMR (Oncostatin M Receptor) is required for glioblastoma tumors to form. They found that blocking OSMR activity in brain tumor stem cells prevented them from forming tumors in mouse brains. In addition, an analysis of 339 tumor samples from human glioblastoma patients showed that higher OSMR expression corresponded with worse patient survival outcome.

April 19, 2016

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) named several Damon Runyon scientists as 2016 recipients of its prestigious awards.


AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship: William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD (Damon Runyon Board Member, Chair of Clinical Investigator Award Committee), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston


AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology: Ronald Levy, MD (Damon Runyon Board Member, Innovation Award Committee Member), Stanford University, Stanford

March 28, 2016

Ash Alizadeh, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ’14-’17) and colleagues at Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, developed an enhanced technique that significantly increases the ability to accurately identify and sequence DNA from cancer cells circulating in a person’s blood. The technique, called “iDES-enhanced CAPP-Seq,” can be used to non-invasively identify tumor-specific mutations.

March 23, 2016

Feng Zhang, PhD (Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovator ‘12-‘14) of the Broad Institute, Cambridge, and Jennifer A. Doudna, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellowship Sponsor, Former Fellowship Award Committee Member) of the University of California, Berkeley, were announced as recipients of the prestigious Canada Gairdner International Award for 2016 "for development of CRISPR-CAS as a genome editing tool for eukaryotic cells.” They are among five scientists honored for pioneering accomplishments in this field. 


March 18, 2016

Adam de la Zerda, PhD (Damon Runyon-Dale F. Frey Scientist ‘13, Damon Runyon Fellow ‘11-‘12) of Stanford University, Stanford, and colleagues, reported the success of a new technique called MOZART that enables 3D real-time imaging of individual cells or even molecules in a living animal. They were able to provide the first glimpse under the skin of a living animal, showing intricate details in the lymph and blood vessels.

March 18, 2016

Douglas K. Graham, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ’07-’12), of Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, and colleagues, reported that a novel compound called MRX-2843 has shown promise in preclinical studies; it blocked the growth of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells, led to a significant level of cancer cell death and more than doubled the median days of survival in laboratory models with a drug-resistant form of the disease. MRX-2843 is effective at targeting cancer cells with activated MERTK protein.

March 3, 2016

Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ‘08-‘13) of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and colleagues, reported an analysis of data from two long-term epidemiologic studies showing that regular use of aspirin significantly reduces the overall risk of cancer. Their findings suggest that the use of aspirin may complement, but not replace, the preventive benefits of colonoscopy and other methods of cancer screening.

February 29, 2016

Gregory L. Beatty, MD, PhD (Nadia’s Gift Foundation Innovator ’12-’15) and colleagues at the Abramson Cancer Center at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, reported the discovery of how macrophage immune cells can be “re-educated” by an experimental immune therapy (CD40 antibodies) to help break down the scaffolding that surrounds and protects pancreatic cancer from chemotherapy.

February 10, 2016

Himisha Beltran, MD (Damon Runyon-Gordon Family Clinical Investigator ’13-’16) of Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, and colleagues, used next-generation sequencing technologies to analyze neuroendocrine prostate cancer, an aggressive resistant form of cancer which sometimes develops in certain patients. The researchers examined resistance in samples collected from 81 patients and discovered the distinctive genetic, epigenetic and molecular features that underlie neuroendocrine prostate cancer.

February 10, 2016

Madhav Dhodapkar, MD (Damon Runyon-Lilly Clinical Investigator ‘02-‘07) of Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, and colleagues have determined that chronic stimulation of the immune system by lipids made in the context of inflammation underlies the origins of at least a third of all myelomas, a type of cancer affecting plasma cells. The study suggests that newer approaches to lower the levels of these lipids in patients with precursors for myeloma.