Additional awards target glioblastoma in children and young adults and breast cancer
LOS ANGELES – [August 31, 2022] – Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) today announced three new teams, including a Lung Cancer Health Equity SU2C Catalyst® Research Team with support from Bristol Myers Squibb; and two SU2C Catalyst® Research Teams with support from Jazz Pharmaceuticals investigating new treatments for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Ewing sarcoma. The teams will build on important work being done under unique SU2C research programs focused on improving cancer health equity and finding new uses for existing compounds to bring innovative therapies to patients faster.
SU2C also funded two awards, the 2022 Laura Ziskin Prize in Translational Research and the inaugural SU2C Maverick Early Career Scientist Award, to researchers conducting critical research in glioblastoma and breast cancer.
“SU2C is committed to bringing new, more effective treatments to patients faster through cutting-edge research by the most talented investigators. We are excited to continue to expand our efforts to eliminate long-standing barriers to state-of-the-art cancer care for underserved and underrepresented patients, and to secure new collaborations with the pharmaceutical industry to bring new treatments and technology to patients as rapidly as possible,” said Russell Chew, president and CEO of Stand Up To Cancer. Chew added, “We continue to be passionate about finding new ways to engage and support early career researchers to help build the next generation of cancer investigators.”
The recently funded teams include:
- Lung Cancer Health Equity SU2C Catalyst® Research Team with support from Bristol Myers Squibb– The team will investigate whether mobile technology services can improve patient outcomes for underserved, underrepresented diverse patients. Both racial and socioeconomic status disparities are associated with lung cancer incidence and mortality. A variety of factors, including smoking status, tumor biology, access to care, and treatment inequities, contribute to these disparities. This team led by Vamsidhar Velcheti, MD, associate professor, NYU Grossman School of Medicine and director of thoracic medical oncology at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, and co-led by Rajwanth Veluswamy, MD, assistant professor, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine will study whether Black, Hispanic and Asian non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients across New York City using the ApricityRx™ digital platform, as well as the on-demand ApricityRx™ Cancer Adverse event Rapid Evaluation (C.A.R.E.) service to see if their long-term outcomes can be improved and whether technology-enabled monitoring can close gaps in clinical care for underrepresented populations.
- SU2C Catalyst® Lung Cancer Combination Therapeutics Team with support from Jazz Pharmaceuticals – This team will conduct a laboratory study to identify which existing targeted therapeutic agents, when combined with the Jazz Pharmaceuticals compound JZP-815, a pan-RAF inhibitor, may offer improved outcomes for patients with KRAS-mutated NSCLC. KRAS mutations are among the most common mutations, observed in 20-25% of lung cancers, and are associated with 35% higher risk of death compared to other NSCLCs. This study will not be conducted in patients. The team led by Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, professor, Department of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology; Department of Pathology, Molecular and Cell Based Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and co-led by Kwok-Kin, Wong MD, PHD, professor, NYU Grossman School of Medicine and director of the division of hematology and medical oncology at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, will use samples of tumor cells from racially and ethnically diverse patients with KRAS-mutated NSCLC, including Hispanic, Black or African American, Asian and other patients. These cell samples will be grown in the laboratory to become three-dimensional “tumor organoids” which will be used to test the different treatment combinations. Findings from a digital ethnography will also be available to help the investigators better target their interventions.
- SU2C Catalyst® LiFFT Study in Adolescent and Young Adult Ewing sarcomas with support from Jazz Pharmaceuticals – This second SU2C Catalyst award with support from Jazz Pharmaceuticals is focused on finding new, targeted treatments for patients 10 years and older to include adolescents and young adults (AYA), as well as adults, with Ewing sarcoma. Ewing sarcoma is a bone and soft-tissue sarcoma most commonly diagnosed in teenage patients with a poor overall survival of only 55%, and overall survival for patients with relapsed disease of less than 20%. Researchers have yet to identify an effective targeted treatment for Ewing sarcoma, however multiple studies have shown Ewing sarcoma to be dependent on the protein EWS-FLI1 which provides a target for potential treatments. This team, led by Patrick Grohar, MD, PhD, associate professor, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and co-led by Robert Maki, MD, PhD, professor, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, will study a compound called lurbinectedin, exclusively licensed by Jazz Pharmaceuticals in the U.S. and Canada, which has been shown to target and inhibit the EWS-FLI1 protein. While Ewing sarcoma is much more common in white male teens, the team will seek to engage traditionally under-represented patients. Findings from a digital ethnography will also be available to help the investigators better target their interventions. They will also investigate if lurbinectedin might be an effective targeted treatment for other tumor types that are driven and characterized by the same group of proteins.
The newly funded awards are:
- SU2C Maverick Early Career Scientist Award was awarded to Anirban Das, MBBS, MD, DM, to study the potential of biomarker-guided use of immunotherapy alone as the initial treatment for hypermutant-glioblastoma in children and young adults followed by additional radiotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors where the latter alone is not sufficient. Hypermutant cancers make up five per cent of childhood cancers, leading to multiple and recurring cancer diagnoses with poor outcomes. Glioblastomas are the leading cause of cancer death in children and young adults with typically very short survival rates following the use of currently available therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation. This grant awards $100,000 for a one-year investigation to Das, a Clinical Research Fellow in Paediatric Neuro-oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, CA and currently an early career investigator on the Pediatric SU2C Catalyst® Research Team focused on novel combinations of immunotherapy for children with hypermutant cancers.
- Laura Ziskin Prize in Translational Research – Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) awarded the 2022 Laura Ziskin Prize in Translational Research to Professor Jane E. Visvader, PhD, FAA FAHMS, FRS, and Geoffrey J. Lindeman, MBBS(Hons), FRACP, PhD, FAA, FAHMS, both joint division heads at WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research) in Australia. They will share a $250,000 grant for their year-long research project to study a new class of drug that targets tumor survival pathways in ER-positive breast cancer. Approximately 70% of breast cancers are ER-positive. By combining targeted therapy with an inhibitor that triggers tumor cell death, the team hopes to improve responses for patients whose tumors have become resistant to therapy, hopefully speeding translation of the concept into clinical studies.
To learn more about SU2C’s Health Equity Initiative, which aims to increase diversity in cancer clinical trials, initiate advocacy group collaborations and awareness campaigns, and fund research to improve cancer outcomes and screening rates in medically underserved communities, visit StandUpToCancer.org/HealthEquity.
To learn more about the SU2C Catalyst program, which encourages collaborative research between academics and companies to shorten the time it takes to get new treatments to patients, visit StandUpToCancer.org/Catalyst.
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Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer
About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by media and entertainment leaders who utilize these communities’ resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, to increase awareness about cancer prevention, and to highlight progress being made in the fight against the disease. As of July 2022, more than 3,000 scientists representing more than 210 institutions are involved in SU2C-funded research projects.
Under the direction of our Scientific Advisory Committee, led by Nobel laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, SU2C conducts rigorous competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and ensure collaboration across research programs.
Current members of the SU2C Founders and Advisors Committee (FAC) include Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Kathleen Lobb, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela Oas Williams, and Ellen Ziffren. The late Laura Ziskin and the late Noreen Fraser are also co-founders. Russell Chew serves as SU2C’s president and CEO.
For more information, visit StandUpToCancer.org, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
About Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
About Jazz Pharmaceuticals
Jazz Pharmaceuticals is a global biopharmaceutical company whose purpose is to innovate to transform the lives of patients and their families. We are dedicated to developing life-changing medicines for people with serious diseases—often with limited or no therapeutic options. We have a diverse portfolio of marketed medicines and novel product candidates, from early-to late-stage development, in neuroscience and oncology. We actively explore new options for patients including novel compounds, small molecules and biologics, and through cannabinoid science and innovative delivery technologies. Jazz is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and has employees around the globe, serving patients in nearly 75 countries. For more information, please visit www.jazzpharmaceuticals.com and follow @JazzPharma on Twitter.
About Apricity Health
At Apricity Health, we envision a future when every patient, no matter who or where they are, will have convenient and affordable access to personalized precision care. We will employ digital and AI technologies to harness real-time patient data and world-class specialty expertise to empower better care everywhere.