Stand Up To Cancer - Dream Teams
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Dream Teams

Research  >  Research Portfolio  >  Dream Teams
Multiple Accelerated Therapies
Up to 50 Researchers
Multiple Institutions
Stand Up To Cancer Oversight
Flagship projects that bring together multidisciplinary teams from different institutions to address critical problems in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

DREAM TEAMS MISSION

Dream Teams foster collaboration, bringing together a variety of disciplines and enabling former competitors to put their collective knowledge towards problem-solving. SU2C Dream Teams practice a translational approach to research, where findings are not restricted to the lab and are converted into lifesaving treatments.

Dream Teams

SU2C’s signature Dream Teams, selected and guided by leaders in the field, take innovative ideas from concept to patient to test ideas that have the potential to revolutionize cancer care and open whole new fields of investigation.Dream Team members span many disciplines and utilize the new tools of modern biology to attack research questions in a coordinated way with a focus on measurable milestones of progress.

SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team: Screening and Interception of Precursor Myeloma

The SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team is focusing on precursor myeloma conditions in patients at a high risk for the disease. Greater knowledge of these conditions, combined with a better understanding of the molecular and immune factors that lead to disease progression, may yield effective strategies that intercept cancer progression and improve survival.

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SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercepting Pancreatic Cancer in High-Risk Cohorts

The SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team’s goal is to intercept pancreatic cancer in high-risk patients through careful early detection and targeted immune prevention. Working first with relatives of people with pancreatic cancer, this team seeks to create a test to screen people at risk for pancreatic cancer to potentially detect the cancer earlier and offer the most effective treatment options to patients.

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SU2C–LUNGevity Foundation–American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercept Lung Cancer Through Immune, Imaging, and Molecular Evaluation (InTIME)

With innovative technologies and unique patient populations, the SU2C–LUNGevity Foundation–American Lung Association (ALA) Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team seeks to understand how early lung cancer develops and is testing methods to block this development using several complementary approaches. The insights gained from this team’s work will enable the medical and research communities to make major strides in the effort to thwart lung cancer before it occurs.

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SU2C Colorectal Cancer Dream Team: Targeting Genomic, Metabolic, and Immunological Vulnerabilities of Colorectal Cancer

The SU2C Colorectal Cancer Dream Team is taking a broad-spectrum approach by addressing three complementary areas of research that have the potential to impact the treatment of all stages of colorectal cancer. The first two areas of research examine the potential impact of immunotherapy and of targeted therapy; the third area of study evaluates strategies to target different colorectal cancer subtypes.

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SU2C–Cancer Research UK–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team: Reprogramming of Transcriptional Circuitry to Control Pancreatic Cancer

The SU2C–Cancer Research UK (CRUK)–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team is working to improve survival of pancreatic cancer patients, with a goal of at least doubling the one-year survival rate in advanced pancreatic cancer from 35% to more than 70%. The team also aims to maintain remission in patients who have responded to treatment, extending and enhancing the lives of people with this disease.

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SU2C–American Cancer Society Lung Cancer Dream Team: Targeting KRAS Mutant Lung Cancers

The SU2C–American Cancer Society (ACS) Lung Cancer Dream Team has established a collaborative, scientifically rigorous, multidisciplinary program that brings together two highly promising treatment approaches: targeted therapy―in this case targeting the KRAS gene―and immunotherapy. This combined approach should lead to novel treatments that will markedly improve outcomes for KRAS-mutant non-small cell lung cancer patients.

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SU2C–Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance–National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Ovarian Cancer Dream Team: DNA Repair Therapies for Ovarian Cancer

With a combined focus on treatment and prevention, the SU2C–Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA)– National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) Ovarian Cancer Dream Team concentrates on developing new therapies that target DNA repair. These potentially apply to a much larger group of women beyond those with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. By screening for inherited mutations in genes linked to DNA repair, the team works to identify women at high risk for ovarian cancer whose lives might be saved by preventive measures.

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SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team: Molecular Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer

The SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society (DCS) Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team has set out to rework and improve the existing fecal immunochemical test (FIT) for colorectal cancer, which fails to detect approximately one-third of cancers and more than two-thirds of precancerous lesions. The team’s overarching goal is to move highly sensitive molecular testing for colorectal cancer to the next level so it can be regularly used in clinical settings.

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Van Andel Research Institute–SU2C Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team: The Epigenetics Dream Team II

Epigenetic therapy is an approach to cancer treatment that involves switching key genes on or off to help destroy cancer cells. The Van Andel Research Institute (VARI)–SU2C Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team II, funded by the Van Andel Research Institute, continues the original Epigenetics Dream Team’s work to restore normal function to damaged epigenetic mechanisms. To do this, the team employs clinical trials exploring immune sensitization, chemo sensitization, and novel target strategies.

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SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team: Transforming Pancreatic Cancer to Treatable Disease

The SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team is focused on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), one of the deadliest types of cancer. This team is working to understand the barriers to treatment that this type of cancer presents, in order to develop new therapies that will effectively treat it.

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SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society Tumor Organoids Dream Team: A New Preclinical Model for Drug Sensitivity Analysis

The SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society (DCS) Tumor Organoids Dream Team has developed a groundbreaking technology that allows oncology samples from patients to be maintained and grown in the laboratory. These growing cancers, called tumor organoids, provide an unprecedented opportunity to combine science’s ability to sequence the DNA of tumors from individual patients with laboratory studies to see if the cancer will respond to or resist specific anticancer treatments. The organoids allow studies of sensitivity and resistance to a large number of anticancer drugs, ultimately helping doctors bring better and more targeted treatments to cancer patients.

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SU2C–St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team: Immunogenomics to Create New Therapies for High-Risk Childhood Cancers

The SU2C–St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team is a collaboration among pediatric cancer researchers in the largely disparate disciplines of cancer genomics and immunotherapeutics. The team focuses on developing new, targeted immunotherapeutics―ways to engage the body’s own immune system in the fight against the most difficult-to-cure childhood cancers.

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SU2C–Cancer Research Institute Cancer Immunology Dream Team: Immunologic Checkpoint Blockade and Adoptive Cell Transfer in Cancer Therapy

The goal of this SU2C–Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Cancer Immunology Dream Team is to induce antitumor responses in immune cells called T cells. The team has taken two approaches to this: blocking the mechanisms that inhibit T cell activity (thereby allowing the T cells to expand, infiltrate, and kill cancer cells) and generating large quantities of T cells in the laboratory, enhancing their cancer-killing abilities, and then transferring them back to patients.

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SU2C–Prostate Cancer Foundation Prostate Dream Team: Targeting Adaptive Pathways in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in North America. The SU2C–Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Prostate Dream Team hypothesizes that treatment for one type of the disease, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, becomes ineffective when certain cellular pathways are activated. The team is working to find ways to shut down these pathways and preserve the effectiveness of the treatment, thus improving outcomes for patients.

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SU2C−Prostate Cancer Foundation Prostate Dream Team: Precision Therapy of Advanced Prostate Cancer

Recent studies have demonstrated tremendous diversity in the genetic makeup of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The SU2C−Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) Prostate Dream Team is sequencing patient DNA and systematically comparing it with patient response to therapies. The aim is to identify biomarkers and predictors that will help physicians determine the best treatments for patients based on their molecular profiles.

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SU2C–Melanoma Research Alliance Melanoma Dream Team: Personalized Medicine for Patients with BRAF Wild-Type (BRAFwt) Cancer

Melanoma patients have a type of cancer that generally falls into one of two groups, based on a gene call BRAF. The goal of the SU2C–Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) Melanoma Dream Team is to examine the entire set of genetic instructions (called the genome) of metastatic melanoma patients whose tumors do not have mutations in their BRAF gene. The team wants to understand the characteristics of each patient’s genome in order to select therapies that are more precisely targeted to the individual.

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SU2C Pancreatic Dream Team: Cutting Off the Fuel Supply: A New Approach in the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

Interfering with the nutrients that support the growth of tumor cells has the potential to substantially improve the survival of patients with pancreatic cancer. This SU2C Pancreatic Dream Team is studying how to cut off the “fuel supply” that pancreatic tumors depend on. Of particular interest is whether these tumors require glucose or glutamine to survive, as other cells do. If so, this information can be used to help devise new, more effective therapeutic strategies.

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SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team: Bringing Epigenetic Therapy to the Forefront of Cancer Management

Epigenetic mechanisms help control the expression of genes—whether they are turned on or off—without affecting the genes’ DNA sequences themselves. Whether a cell becomes cancerous depends not only on its genome, but also on its epigenome. The goal of the SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team’s work is to test drugs that will change the epigenome to potentially treat many kinds of cancer.

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SU2C Circulating Tumor Cell Dream Team: Bioengineering and Clinical Applications of Circulating Tumor Cell Chip

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are extremely rare cancer cells that are shed into the blood from
primary or metastatic tumors. The SU2C Circulating Tumor Cell Dream Team has generated the prototype Herringbone-CTC-Chip, which allows initial molecular analysis of CTCs and enables pilot clinical trials in cancers of the lung, prostate, breast, and pancreas, as well as melanoma. It also lays the groundwork for the next-generation CTC-iChip.

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SU2C PI3K Dream Team: Targeting the PI3K Pathway in Women’s Cancers

The scientists participating in the SU2C PI3K Dream Team are the pioneers who discovered the PI3K pathway—a complex chain of signals that helps regulate cell growth—and validated its role in human cancers. The goal of this Dream Team is to discover approaches that will predict which patients will respond positively to PI3K inhibitors, focusing on women’s cancers that have the PI3K mutation.

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SU2C Breast Cancer Dream Team: An Integrated Approach to Targeting Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes and Their Resistance Phenotypes

The SU2C Breast Cancer Dream Team addresses the most significant issues related to the three major subtypes of breast cancer—ER positive, HER2 positive, and triple negative. It uses its findings to develop innovative and less toxic therapies with the potential to improve the treatment outcomes for women with this disease.

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Research Teams

Stand Up To Cancer also funds research projects that address critical problems in patient care and deliver near-term patient benefit through investigation by small collaborative teams of expert investigators.

Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Adoptive Transfer of TGF-β Resistant TIL to Defeat Immunosuppressive PDAC

Pancreatic cancer cells have a high level of a protein, called TGF-β, that can repress the activity of the immune system in fighting cancers. This research team can isolate tumor-specific killer T cells (called tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, or TILs) from pancreatic cancer tissue and transfer them back to the patient for maximal impact against the tumor cells. The team is engineering TIL to make the cells resistant to the suppressive effect of TGF-β, potentially enabling the TIL to attack the cancer tissue within the pancreas.

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Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Combined Targeting of MEK1/MEK2 and Autophagy for Pancreatic Cancer Therapy

The standard of care for people with pancreatic cancer is difficult and often ineffective. To better control this type of cancer, the research team is testing a combination approach that involves shutting down two cellular pathways. The first pathway carries signals that relate to tumor growth, and the second controls a process called autophagy, in which the cell effectively reuses its own interior contents. By shutting down both pathways, the team hopes to slow or stop the growth of pancreatic tumors.

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Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Exploiting DNA Repair Gene Mutations in Pancreatic Cancer

Drugs called PARP inhibitors are being used to treat ovarian cancer by interfering with the processes of cell division that allows tumors to grow. The team is testing these drugs in pancreatic cancer in combination with other drugs that block cellular pathways also involved in DNA repair. It is hoped that together, these therapies will in many cases cause pancreatic tumors to shrink.

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Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Immunotherapy Targeting Mutant KRAS

Mutations in the KRAS oncogene drive the vast majority of pancreatic cancers. This research team is using knowledge of the immune system to isolate T cells that can target the cancer-promoting gene. This will allow the development of precision therapies involving highly selective white blood cells that can be given to pancreatic cancer patients to target and potentially destroy tumors.

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Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Molecularly Targeted Radionuclide Therapy

This team proposes the protein called integrin αvβ6 as a target for peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT), an approved molecular targeted therapy used to treat neuroendocrine tumors. αvβ6 is significantly increased in pancreatic cancer, especially in metastasis. The scientists have developed a radiolabeled αvβ6-targeting peptide that they have successfully used to image pancreatic cancer metastases. In this study they are developing and testing a similar peptide that can be used specifically to kill pancreatic cancer cells.

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Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Targeting SHP2 in Pancreatic Cancer

The team is studying whether inhibiting cellular processes in pancreatic tumors can stop the out-of-control growth that is characteristic of cancer. Pancreatic cancers with mutations in the KRAS gene are weakened when a protein called SHP2 is blocked in the RAS pathway—a cellular pathway that may be essential to the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. Another means to block this pathway involves a protein called MEK. The team hopes that by inhibiting both of these components, they can slow down or stop the growth of pancreatic cancer tissue.

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Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team:
Targeting Stem Cell Signals in Pancreatic Cancer

Researchers on this team have identified a subpopulation of cells in pancreatic cancer that act like stem cells and help the cancer to proliferate. The team has also found that these cells are especially resistant to therapeutic drugs but may be sensitive to a new approach. The team is testing whether blocking a protein that regulates inflammation can slow or stop the growth of pancreatic cancer. Promising drugs in this class are already in development for autoimmune diseases, so if this approach is successful, doctors may be able to deploy it rapidly to develop new treatments for pancreatic cancer.

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SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation For Pancreatic Research Interception Research Team: Developing Novel Approaches to Treat and Evaluate Early Pancreatic Cancer

To intercept pancreatic cancer, the SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation For Pancreatic Research Interception Research Team is taking a comprehensive, two-pronged approach. Team members are testing novel and intensive preoperative treatments allowing doctors to achieve a complete surgical removal of a tumor and eradicate micrometastatic disease in more patients. They are also using organoids-cultured tumor cell colonies―to identify robust biomarkers of response to help guide the choice of standard therapies and immunotherapies.

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SU2C–LUNGevity–American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Research Team: Blood-Based Early Interception of Lung Cancer

The SU2C-LUNGevity-American Lung Association (ALA) Lung Cancer Interception Research Team hypothesizes that the early detection of invasive lung cancers can be improved through new technological approaches, and that progress on this front can quickly bring about more effective patient treatments. hypothesizes that the early detection of invasive lung cancers can be improved through new technological approaches, and that progress on this front can quickly bring about more effective patient treatments. The team is working to build a new tool―a composite of blood-based biomarker tests called the Lung Cancer Interception Assay―that can be used in conjunction with standard imaging to provide early detection of lung cancer.

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SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation CAR T Research Team: Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell (CAR T) Therapyfor Pancreatic Cancer

CAR T therapy, a therapeutic strategy to use the patient’s immune cells to fight cancer, has been promising with blood cancers but seems less effective in treating solid cancers. The SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation CAR T Research Team is using state-of-the-art epigenetic approaches and preclinical models to examine CAR T cells and tumor cells in patients who respond to CAR T therapy and in those who do not, with a particular focus on pancreatic cancer patients.

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SU2C–Farrah Fawcett Foundation Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Research Team: Therapeutic CD8 Vaccines Against Conserved E7 HPV Epitopes Identified by MS

The SU2C–Farrah Fawcett Foundation Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Research Team focuses on patients with HPV-driven cancers (including cervical, anal, and head and neck cancer) who relapse following initial therapy. The team aims to develop novel immunotherapy approaches that will address this important unmet clinical need.

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SU2C−Dutch Cancer Society Translational Research Team: Prospective Use of DNA-Guided Personalized Cancer Treatment

The ultimate goal of personalized, or “precision,” medicine—delivering the right drug to the right cancer patient—requires a detailed understanding of how alterations in tumor DNA are linked to responses to cancer drugs. The SU2C−Dutch Cancer Society (DCS) Translational Research Team studies how changes in the tumor DNA of patients can be used to predict sensitivity to specific anticancer agents.

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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.

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