New Discoveries and Honors

Read about the latest discoveries by Damon Runyon scientists and honors received by scientists in the Damon Runyon scientific community.

February 21, 2020


After decades of trying, scientists developed drugs that target one of the most elusive cancer-causing proteins, KRAS, which is activated in nearly a third of cancers, including difficult to treat lung and colorectal cancers. In 2016, Piro Lito, MD, PhD, (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ‘17-’20) and his colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center showed that a compound could shut down the most common form of the KRAS mutation in lung cancer without harming healthy cells.


January 31, 2020


Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ‘13-‘16), from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Adrian R. Krainer, PhD, from Cold Spring Harbor, collaborated to uncover how a genetic mutation can cause RNA messages to be blocked, triggering biological steps that lead to most leukemias.


January 28, 2020


Inventing new drugs from scratch is expensive and time consuming—and even after that significant investment, over 50 percent of drug candidates fail in the final stages. Damon Runyon Board Member Todd R. Golub, MD, Former Damon Runyon Fellow Matthew L. Meyerson, MD, PhD, and colleagues, at the Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Center, have developed a novel way to test FDA-approved non-oncology drugs for activity against cancer more efficiently, lowering the risk and cost involved in drug discovery.


January 13, 2020


Karuna Ganesh, MD, PhD (Clinical Investigator ’19-’22), and her colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, have discovered a novel framework for approaching metastasis and developing treatments. The researchers found that metastasis-initiating cells can hijack the body’s natural wound-healing abilities to colonize distant organs.


January 7, 2020


The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research has awarded six grants to promising early career scientists for projects aimed at addressing unmet needs in cancer research. Eliezer Van Allen, MD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ’15-’20), of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, received the competitive award for his research to improve clinical care for prostate cancer patients.


January 6, 2020


Scientists have found a clue as to how melanoma cells are able to metastasize. Ralph J. DeBerardinis, MD, PhD (Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator ’11-’14) and colleagues at Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) discovered that some melanoma cells carry proteins on their surface that help them survive the hostile environment of the bloodstream as they travel to distant organs and form new tumors.


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