New Discoveries and Honors in Cancer Research

Read the latest cancer research and recognition from the members of the Damon Runyon scientific circle.
October 26, 2022
Damon Runyon scientist Eli Van Allen, MD, receives 2022 FNIH Trailblazer Prize

In 2018, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) established the FNIH Trailblazer Prize for Clinician-Scientists to recognize “the outstanding contributions of early career clinician-scientists” whose research “translates basic scientific observations into new paradigm-shifting approaches for diagnosing, preventing, treating or curing disease.” Last year, former Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Piro Lito, MD, PhD, received the Trailblazer Prize for his work developing the first-ever KRAS inhibitor for the treatment of lung cancer.

Eli Van Allen, MD

This year, the FNIH Trailblazer Prize has been awarded to former Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Eliezer M. Van Allen, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,for his many contributions to developing the science of personalized cancer care.” Dr. Van Allen’s research aims to improve precision cancer medicine through clinical computational oncology, which allows for the analysis and interpretation of individual cancer genomes and molecular profiles. He is particularly interested in exploring the impact of inherited and environmental factors on cancer risk and response to cancer treatment.

For years, the Van Allen Lab has served as an exemplar of patient-centered research. This summer, for example, the team released the first report from the Metastatic Prostate Cancer project, launched in 2018 to involve cancer patients from diverse geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds in research that has often excluded them. The initial report, co-authored by the researchers and research participants, includes genomic and clinical data from over 1,000 prostate cancer patients across the U.S. and Canada.

Dr. Van Allen, who has also mentored two Damon Runyon Physician-Scientists, currently serves on the Damon Runyon Quantitative Biology Fellowship Award Committee.