Head and Neck Cancer Research Team - Stand Up To Cancer

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SU2C-Fanconi Anemia Research Fund-
Farrah Fawcett Foundation
Head and Neck Cancer Research Team:

Precision Therapy for Fanconi Anemia and HPV-related Head and Neck Cancers

Grant Term: October 2021-September 2024

The goal of the SU2C-Fanconi Anemia Research Fund-Farrah Fawcett Foundation Head and Neck Cancer Research Team, with additional support from American Head and Neck Society and the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, is to develop improved treatments for patients with head and neck cancer. This research will explore combinations of existing and emerging treatments for head and neck squamous cell cancers (HNSCC), especially for people with the human papillomavirus (HPV) or Fanconi anemia — a rare disease that leads to bone marrow failure and cancer.

Supported by:
With additional support from:


The goal of this Team is to develop improved treatments for patients with head and neck cancer. The Team will concentrate on treatments for patients who develop this cancer due to infection with a common virus called human papillomavirus (HPV), or those who have a rare genetic disease called Fanconi anemia, which predisposes them to this type of cancer at an early age. Cancers that develop due to HPV infection are often diagnosed when cancer has already spread, and a quarter of these patients are not cured with current therapies. Patients with Fanconi anemia who develop cancer have poor survival because standard cancer therapies cannot be used in these patients due to their inability to repair DNA properly. In both patient groups, successful treatment may be associated with terrible side effects resulting in low quality of life. For these reasons it is imperative to identify new treatment and preventive strategies to benefit all patients with head and neck cancer.


The SU2C-Fanconi Anemia Research Fund-Farrah Fawcett Foundation Head and Neck Cancer Research Team brings together scientists approaching head and neck cancer from many different perspectives. The team has expertise in proteomic, genomic, machine learning, mouse modeling, genetic and pharmacologic biological pathway manipulation, developmental therapeutics, and patient trial design and execution. It is being led by two physician scientists with complementary expertise.

Team Members

Agata Smogorzewska, MD, PhD
The Rockefeller University

Barbara Burtness, MD
Yale School of Medicine

Markus Grompe, MD
Oregon Health & Science University
Principal Investigator

Jorge Silvio Gutkind, PhD
University of California San Diego
Principal Investigator

Amanda Paulovich, MD, PhD
Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center
Principal Investigator

Alexander Pearson, MD, PhD
University of Chicago
Early Career Investigator

Edward Kaftan, PhD
Yale School of Medicine
Project Manager

Allison Breininger

Peter Krause, MD


Stand Up To Cancer’s research projects are designed to foster collaborative, swift translational research. The hallmarks of these efforts include rigorous application and selection procedures, sufficient funding to allow scientists to focus on the objectives of the grant, and reviews by senior scientists every six months. These reviews help the investigators capitalize on the latest findings, address potential roadblocks, and collaboratively evolve as the science requires. Click on the link below to see summaries of research results so far for the SU2C-Fanconi Anemia Research Fund-Farrah Fawcett Foundation Head and Neck Cancer Research Team.



Links to publications will be posted when they are available.

Clinical Trials Referrals

Cancer clinical trials allow researchers to study innovative and potentially life-saving new treatments. The goal is to find treatments that are better than what’s currently available; in fact, the therapies offered to today’s cancer patients were almost all studied and made possible by people participating in clinical trials. But many cancer clinical trials aren’t completed because not enough people take part.

At StandUpToCancer.org/ClinicalTrials, you’ll find clinical trial information, answers to common questions, and a free clinical trial finder tool.



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