Since our founding in 1946, promising scientists identified and supported by Damon Runyon have gone on to make breakthrough discoveries that have transformed our understanding of cancer and develop new approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all forms of this disease. Thirteen Damon Runyon scientists have received the Nobel Prize.

We measure our impact in three ways:

Scientific discoveries that advance our understanding of cancer.

Our scientists have:

  • Been front and center in deciphering the genetic drivers of cancer, including identifying the first cancer-causing gene and leadership in the national Human Genome Atlas project to identify the key genetic drivers of a broad range of cancers.
  • Pioneered the study of the immune system, which has led to the current success of cancer immunotherapies.
  • Developed many of the technologies used today to study cancer, such as tools to edit the genome (CRISPR Cas9) and study cancer at the single cell level.

And the list goes on...

Development of new approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Our scientists:

  • Proved the link between cigarette smoking and cancer
  • First cured a solid tumor with chemotherapy
  • First cured a patient with Stage IV melanoma using only immunotherapy
  • Were directly involved in the development and approval of new targeted therapies such as Herceptin, Erbitux, Yervoy, and Zelboraf. In fact, in an analysis of 12 recently approved cancer drugs, discoveries by Damon Runyon scientists were cited as important in each one
  • Have founded innovative biotech companies, such as Juno Therapeutics, Syros Pharmaceuticals, Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, and others

And the list goes on...

The career success of the scientists we were the first to identify and support.

Our scientists have received the highest honors and awards bestowed on researchers: