Research Areas

Stand Up To Cancer research spans a range of approaches and treatments. From cancer prevention and interception to epigenetics and immunotherapy, SU2C’s multifaceted research teams and investigations are focused on the most innovative approaches to bring more effective therapies to patients quickly, to increase survivorship and to improve quality of life for cancer patients and survivors.

As SU2C revolutionizes cancer research, the investigations it supports have the potential to transform the treatment of cancers in both adults and children.

RESEARCH AREAS

IMMUNOLOGY

Immunology uses the power of the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer. Since inception, SU2C has focused on developing new immunotherapies to treat cancer, and has been an early supporter of combination approaches to immunotherapy. Our investigators are hard at work to understand how to make immunotherapy effective for more people and how to mitigate side effects from the treatment. Learn more about Immunology.

Immunology research teams funded by SU2C
  • Functional Verification of DNA Repair Mutations in Prostate and Ovary Tumors
    Team Leader: Eliezer Van Allen, MD
    Co-Leader: Maria Jasin, PhD
  • Analysis of High-Dimension Single-Cell Data from Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trials
    Team Leader: Dana Pe’er, PhD
    Co-Leader: Padmanee Sharma, PhD
  • Cancer Cell Specific, Self-Delivering Pro-Drugs
    Team Leader: Matthew Levy, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  • Defining the Role of Epigenetics in Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy for CLL
    Team Leader: Shelley Berger, PhD
    Co-Leader: Carl H. June, MD
    Co-Leader: Junwei Shi, PhD
  • Defining the Role of Epigenetics in Resistance to Immunotherapy and Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
    Team Leader: Carl June
    Co-Leader: Shelley Berger
  • Delineating the Role of the Microbiome in Modulating Tumor and Host Immunity
    Team Leader: Jennifer Wargo, MD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Developing Novel Approaches to Detect and Treat Early Pancreatic Cancer
    Team Leader: David P. Ryan, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Co-Leader: Alec Kimmelman, MD, PhD, New York University
  • Fingerprinting the Systemic Microbiome in Plasma to Predit Immunotherapy Outcomes in Melanoma
    Team Leader: Mohammed Murtaza, PhD
    Co-Leader: Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD
  • Harnessing Dipeptidyl Peptidase Inhibition for Cancer Immunotherapy
    Team Leader: Daniel A. Bachovchin, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Identification and Analysis of Prostate Reactive TCRs for T-cell Mediated Adoptive Cellular Immunotherapy of Metastatic Prostate Cancer
    Team Leader: Owen N. Witte, MD
    Co-Leader: Padmanee Sharma, MD, PhD
  • Identifying and Targeting Mechanisms of Resistance to Immunotherapy
    Team Leader: Rizwan Haq, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Imaging CAR T Cells with a Dual Function PET Reporter Gene
    Team Leader: Michael Farwell, MD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Interrogation of Resistance Mechanisms to Checkpoint Inhibitors Using Functional Genomics
    TeamLeader: Siwen Hu-Lieskovan, MD, PhD
    Co-Leader: René Bernards, DPhil
  • Immunogenomics to Create New Therapies for High-Risk Childhood Cancers
    Team Leader: John M. Maris, MD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
    Co-Leader: Crystal L. Mackall, MD, Stanford University
  • Immunologic Checkpoint Blockage and Adoptive Cell Transfer in Cancer Therapy
    Team Leader: James P. Allison, PhD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Co-Leader: Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
    Co-Leader: Drew M. Pardoll, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
    Co-Leader: Cassian Yee, MD, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Immunotherapy Combination Strategies in ER-positive Metastatic Breast Cancer
    Team Leader: Ingrid A. Mayer, MD, Vanderbilt University
  • Immunotherapy to Prevent Progression in Multiple Myeloma
    Team Leader: Irene M. Ghobrial, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Liberating T-Cell Mediated Immunity to Pancreatic Cancer
    Team Leader: Peter J. O’Dwyer, MD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Metabolic Reprogramming Using Oncolytic Viruses to Improve Immunotherapy
    Team Leader: Greg M. Delgoffe, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy for Patients with High-Risk Stage III Melanoma
    Team Leader: Matthew S. Block, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic
  • Pembrolizumab and Radiation Therapy to Improve Outcome in High-Risk Sarcoma
    Team Leader: David G. Kirsch, MD, PhD, Duke University Medical School
  • Phospholipid Messengers as Drivers of Dendritic Cell Dysfunction in Cancer
    Team Leader: Juan R. Cubillos-Ruiz, PhD, Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Potentiating Novel Engineered Cellular Therapies for Solid Tumors
    Team Leader: Marcela V. Maus, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Probing EBV-LMP-1’s Transmembrane Activation Domain with Synthetic Peptide
    Team Leader: Hang H. Yin, PhD, University of Colorado
  • Reprogramming Tumor Immunogenicity with STING-Activating Nanoparticles
    Team Leader: John Wilson, PhD, Vanderbilt University
  • Rescuing T cell Function for Immunotherapy of Pediatric Malignancies
    Team Leader: David M. Barrett, MD, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Reversing Primary Anti-PD-1 Resistance with Ipilimumab and Nivolumab
    Team Leader: Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD
  • Reworking Negative Receptor Signals for Improved Anti-glioma T-cell Therapy
    Team Leader: Meenakshi Hedge, MD, Baylor College of Medicine
  • T cell Immunotherapy for Core Binding Factor Acute Myeloid Leukemia
    Team Leader: Marie Bleakley, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Targeted Inhibition of BCL6 for Leukemia Stem Cell Eradication
    Team Leader: Markus Müschen, MD, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Targeting Genomic, Metabolic and Immunological Vulnerabilities of Colorectal Cancer
    Team Leader: Luis A. Diaz Jr., MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    Team Leader: Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College
    Co-Leader: Charles S. Fuchs, MD, yale University School of Medicine
    Co-Leader: Zhenghe Wang, PhD, Case Western Reserve University
  • Targeting KRAS Mutant Lung Cancers
    Co-Leader: Alice T. Shaw, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
    Co-Leader: Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    Co-Leader: Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Targeting the Pro-metastatic Niche in the Liver for Cancer Immunotherapy
    Team Leader: Gregory L. Beatty, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Targeting VDR to make Pancreatic Cancer Competent for Immunotherapy
    Team Leader: Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
  • Genetic, Epigenetic, and Immunological Underpinnings of Cancer Evolution through Treatment
    Team Leader: Ross Levine, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • The Intersection of Epigenetic and Immune Checkpoint Therapy
    Team Leader: Stephen B. Baylin, MD
    Co-Leader: James P. Allison, PhD
  • Therapeutic CD8 Vaccines Against Conserved E7 HPV Epitopes Identified by MS
    Team Leader: Ellis L. Reinherz, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Co-Leader: Robert I. Haddad, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Transforming Pancreatic Research to Treatable Disease
    Team Leader: Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, Johns Hopkins University
    Co-Leader: Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania
  • Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocyte Adoptive T Cell Therapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
    Team Leader: Scott J. Antonia, MD, PhD, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

DNA DAMAGE RESPONSE

The DNA in every one of our cells gets damaged over and over each day. Our cells have multiple systems to fix that damage, but in some cancers one of these systems is broken and has to rely on a “back up” system to survive. Investigators are looking at ways to cut off these alternate DNA damage repair mechanisms to cripple already compromised cancer cells.

DNA research teams funded by SU2C
  • Combined Approaches by Immune Checkpoint inhibition for Hypermutant Cancers
    Team Leader: Uri Y. Tabori, MD, The Hospital for Sick Children (Canada)
  • DNA Repair Therapies for Ovarian Cancer
    Team Leader: Alan D. D’Andrea, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Epigenetic Therapy Sensitizing Breast Cancer to Blockades of DNA Repair
    Team Leader: Stephen Baylin, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Co-Leader: Feyruz Rassool
  • Identification of drivers of ABOBEC3B function
    Team Leader: Matthew Ellis
    Co-Leader: Charles Swanton
  • Uncovering How RAD51 Paralog Mutations Contribute to Cancer Predisposition
    Team Leader: Kara A. Bernstein, PhD, University of Pittsburgh

EPIGENETICS

Sometimes it’s not what is in our DNA that counts, but how the DNA is used. Epigenetics is the study of how genes are turned on and off in ways that promote or inhibit the development of cancer. Learn more about Epigenetics.

Epigenetics research teams funded by SU2C
  • Bringing Epigenetic Therapy to the Forefront of Cancer Management
    Team Leader: Stephen B. Baylin, MD, Johns Hopkins University
    Co-Leader: Peter A. Jones, DSc, PhD, Van Andel Research Institute
  • Clinical Development of CFI-400945, a PLK Inhibitor, in Breast Cancer
    Team Leader: Dennis J. Slamon, MD, PhD
    Co-Leader: Tak W. Mak, PhD
  • Clinical trials of epigenetic therapy sensitized patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer to chemotherapy and immunotherapy
    Team Leader: Peter A. Jones, DSc, PhD, Van Andel Research Institute
    Co-Leader: Stephen B. Baylin, MD, Johns Hopkins University
  • Combined Epigenetic Therapy and Pembrolizumab for Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
    Leader: Stephen B. Baylin, MD, Johns Hopkins University
  • Cross-talk Between Histone H3K4 Mono-methylation and Cancer Metabolism to Explore New Therapeutic Strategies
    Team Leader: Yali Dou, PhD
    Co-Leader: Mei Kong, PhD
  • Defining the Role of Epigenetics in Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy for CLL
    Team Leader: Shelley Berger, PhD
    Co-Leader: Carl H. June, MD
    Co-Leader: Junwei Shi, PhD
  • Defining the Role of Epigenetics in Resistance to Immunotherapy and Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
    Leader: Carl June
    Co-Leader: Shelley Berger
  • Dissecting the Epigenetic Mechanisms of Repeat RNA Regulation in Cancer
    Team Leader: David T. Ting, MD
    Co-Leader: Shelley Berger, PhD
  • Epigenetic Therapy Sensitizing Breast Cancer to Blockades of DNA Repair
    Team Leader: Stephen B. Baylin, MD
    Co-Leader: Feyruz V. Rassool, PhD
  • Framing Therapeutic Opportunities in Tumor-activated Gametogenic Programs
    Team Leader: Angelique W. Whitehurst, PhD, UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Modeling Ewing Tumor Initiation in Human Neural Crest Stem Cells
    Team Leader: Elizabeth R. Lawler, MD, PhD, University of Michigan
  • Overcoming Urothelial Cancer Atezolizumab Resistance by Epigentic Therapy
    Team Leader: Peter A. Jones, DSc, PhD, Van Andel Research Institute
  • Reprogramming of Transcriptional Circuitry to Control Pancreatic Cancer
    Team Leader: Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, Translational Genomics Research Institute
    Co-Leader: Ronald M. Evans, PhD, Salk Research Institute for Biological Studies
    Co-Leader: Gerard I. Evan, PhD, University of Cambridge
  • Targeting Epigenetic Plasticity and Drug Resistance in Pediatric Cancer
    Team Leader: Kimberly Stegmaier, MD
    Co-Leader: Adolfo Ferrando, MD, PhD
  • Genetic, Epigenetic, and Immunological Underpinnings of Cancer Evolution through Treatment
    Team Leader: Ross Levine, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • The Intersection of Epigenetic and Immune Checkpoint Therapy
    Team Leader: Stephen B. Baylin, MD
    Co-Leader: James P. Allison, PhD
  • Therapeutically Targeting the Epigenome in Aggressive Pediatric Cancers
    Team Leader: Charles M. Roberts, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

TUMOR MODELS, IMAGING & INFORMATICS

New approaches to cancer research are taking advantage of advances in technology, including new laboratory methods, better scanning/imaging equipment and the incorporation of artificial intelligence to analyze complex data sets.

Tumor Models, Imaging & Informatics teams funded by SU2C
  • A Transformative Technology to Capture and Drug New Cancer Targets
    Team Leader: Loren D. Walensky, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • A Trial of Personalized/Precision Therapeutics for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) and Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) using Bone Marrow Organoids
    Team Leader: Siddharta Mukherjee
  • Algorithmically-driven Quantitative Combination Cancer Therapy Engineering
    Team Leader: Dan A. Landau, MD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Imaging Cell-Level Heterogeneity in Solid Tumors for Personalized Treatment
    Team Leader: Melissa Skala, PhD, Morgridge Institute for Research
  • Inhibiting Innate Resistance to Chemotherapy in Lung Cancer Stem Cells
    Team Leader: E. Alejandro Sweet-Cordero, MD, Stanford University
  • Intercepting Pancreatic Cancer in High Risk Cohorts
    Team Leader: Anirban Maitra, MBBS, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Co-Leader: Michael G. Goggins, MD, Johns Hopkins University
    Co-Leader: Scott M. Lippman, MD, University of California, San Diego
  • Personalized Medicine for Patients with BRAF WildType (BRAFwt) Cancer
    Team Leader: Jeffrey M. Trent, PhD
    Co-Leader: Patricia LoRusso, DO, yale Cancer Center
  • Precision Therapy of Advanced Prostate Cancer
    Team Leader: Arul M. Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD, University of Michigan
    Co-Leader: Charles L. Sawyers, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Probing the Metabolic Interactions Between Tumor and Stroma in Pancreatic Cancer
    Team Leader: Matthew Vander Heiden, MD, PhD
    Co-Leader: Melissa Skala, PhD
  • Targeting Adaptive Pathways in Metastatic Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer
    Team Leader: Eric J. Small, MD, University of California, San Francisco
    Co-Leader: Owen N. Witte, MD, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Ecology of the Tumor Environment in Breast Cancer
    Team Leader: Peter P. Lee, MD, City of Hope
  • Towards Predictive Models of Immunotherapy Response
    Team Leader: Benjamin D. Greenbaum, PhD
    Co-Leader: Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD
  • A New Preclinical Model for Drug Sensitivity Analysis
    Team Leader: Hans Clevers, MD, PhD, Hubrecht Institute
    Co-Leader: Johannes Bos, PhD, University Medical Center Urecht

PEDIATRICS

SU2C focuses innovative research efforts on pediatric cancer, using groundbreaking methods such as immunotherapy and immunogenomics – looking at how tumor cells and immune cells react to each other and evolve over time – to develop new therapies for high-risk childhood cancers. SU2C-supported research contributed to two FDA approvals to treat certain blood cancers in children, including the CAR T-cell therapy, and a new approved use for a drug which mitigates the potentially severe or even life-threatening side effects of this treatment in some of the children. SU2C researchers also created a new tool that can predict which patients are likely to experience serious side effects so that their care team can be ready to react as soon as those effects might appear.

Pediatrics research teams funded by SU2C
  • Coupled Genetic and Functional Dissection of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
    Team Leader: Catherine J. Wu, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Developing New Therapeutic Strategies for Soft-tissue Sarcoma
    Team Leader: Amy J. Wagers, PhD, Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Identification and Targeting of Novel Rearrangements in High-Risk ALL
    Team Leader: Charles G. Mullighan, MD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Immunogenomics to Create New Therapies for High-Risk Childhood Cancers
    Team Leader: John M. Maris, MD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
    Co-Leader: Crystal L. Mackall, MD, Stanford University
  • Modeling Ewing Tumor Initiation in Human Neural Crest Stem Cells
    Team Leader: Elizabeth R. Lawler, MD, PhD, University of Michigan
  • Modulating Transcription Factor Abnormalities in Pediatric Cancer
    Team Leader: Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Rescuing T Cell Function for Immunotherapy of Pediatric Malignancies
    Team Leader: David M. Barrett, MD, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • T cell Immunotherapy for Core Binding Factor Acute Myeloid Leukemia
    Team Leader: Marie Bleakley, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Targeted Inhibition of BCL6 for Leukemia Stem Cell Eradication
    Team Leader: Markus Müschen, MD, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Targeting Epigenetic Plasticity and Drug Resistance in Pediatric Cancer
    Team Leader: Adolfo Ferrando, MD, PhD
    Co-Leader: Kimberly Stegmaier, MD
  • Targeting Genetic and Metabolic Networks in T-ALL
    Team Leader: Adolfo A. Ferrando, MD, PhD, Columbia University
  • Targeting MLL in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
    Team Leader: Yali Dou, PhD, Univeresity of Michigan
  • Therapeutically Targeting the Epigenome in Aggressive Pediatric Cancers
    Team Leader: Charles M. Roberts, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

INTERCEPTION

Interception is the idea of finding and attacking cancer at its earliest stages when it is easiest to treat. Most treatments are designed for fully developed tumors, so new approaches to diagnosis and treatment are need to attack young, emerging cancer cells.

Interception research teams funded by SU2C
  • Blood-Based Early Interception of Lung Cancer
    Team Leader: Lecia V. Sequist, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Co-Leader: Maximilian Diehn, MD, PhD, Stanford University
  • Developing Novel Approaches to Detect and Treat Early Pancreatic Cancer
    Team Leader: David P. Ryan, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Co-Leader: Alec Kimmelman, MD, PhD, New York University
  • Intercepting Lung Cancer Through Immune, Imaging & Molecular Evaluation (inTIME)
    Team Leader: Avrum Spira, MD
    Co-Leader: Steven M. Dubinett, MD, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Intercepting Pancreatic Cancer in High-Risk Cohorts High Risk Cohorts
    Team Leader: Anirban Maitra, MBBS, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Co-Leader: Michael G. Goggins, MD, Johns Hopkins University

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

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Stand Up To Cancer strongly encourages novel, collaborative, and high-impact proposals. Proposals submitted in response to Calls for Ideas (CFIs) or Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are rigorously reviewed, and the most promising, exciting projects are selected by panels of expert investigators.

CLINICAL TRIALS

SU2C’s diverse research teams host clinical trials to achieve their goal of bringing treatments to patients at an accelerated pace. More than 180 clinical trials have been planned, started or completed by SU2C-supported researchers. Learn more about clinical trials and how to participate.

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