CINCINNATI—It’s difficult to think that some of the scientific findings that have led to new medical treatments could have gone undiscovered without important funding needed to facilitate the initial research.
With federal opportunities for research funding decreasing and a need to support these promising studies, the Cincinnati Cancer Center (CCC) has awarded over $200,000 in pilot grants to members and basic scientists who are collaborating to find out more about various cancers with hopes of generating more data and additional funding.
"This type of funding allows for more experimental concepts to be investigated, whereas federal agencies may not initially choose to support these high-risk, high-reward studies,” says Shuk-Mei Ho, PhD, director of the CCC, Jacob G. Schmidlapp Chair of Environmental Health and professor at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine. "We hope this support will launch the careers of junior colleagues while helping to expedite some novel research that could uncover new or better ways to study or treat cancers in addition to providing preliminary findings that could lead to federal funding opportunities and support the use of core facilities and shared physical space.”
Winners were announced during a Cincinnati Cancer Center membership event held April 29. Five teams—two of which received Mentee-Mentor Partnership Awards for $19,640 and three of which received Affinity Group Awards for $60,000—were recognized. Projects included:
Mentee-Mentor "Molecular Basis of Tumor-Associated Fibroblasts in Melanoma,” led by Yuhang Zhang, PhD, associate member of the Cincinnati Cancer Center, assistant professor in the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy and member of the UC Cancer Institute, and Zalfa Abdel-Malek, PhD, member of the CCC, professor in the department of dermatology at the UC College of Medicine and UC Cancer Institute member.
"A Novel Epigenetic Role of ZBTB4 in Breast Cancer,” led by KyoungHyun Kim, PhD, member of the CCC, assistant professor in the department of environmental health at the UC College of Medicine and member of the UC Cancer Institute, and Ho.
"A Novel Mechanism Regulating Breast Cancer Indolence and Dormancy,” co-led by CCC and members Shao-Chun Wang, PhD, assistant professor in the department of cancer biology, Susan Waltz, PhD, professor in the department of cancer biology, and Jiang Wang, MD, PhD, associate professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine, who are also members of the UC Cancer Institute.
"Sortilin-Cholesterol Axis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma,” co-led by Cincinnati Cancer Center and members David Hui, PhD, professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine, Anja Jaeschke, PhD, assistant professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Carol Mercer, PhD, assistant research professor in the department of internal medicine, division of hematology oncology, who are also members of the UC Cancer Institute.
"Novel Combinatorial Therapeutics in Glioblastoma,” co-led by CCC members Biplab Dasgupta, PhD, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at the UC College of Medicine and a member of the Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Kakajan Komurov, PhD, assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at the UC College of Medicine and member of the Cancer and Blood Disease Institute at Cincinnati Children’s, and Christopher McPherson, MD, associate professor in the department of neurosurgery at UC and a member of both the UC Cancer and UC Neuroscience Institutes.
"We are so pleased to be able to provide these scientists with funding that is vital to the success of their labs and their overall research goals,” Ho says. "We have such strength in cancer research at the CCC, and awarding these grants is a step that will help us continue to grow our reputation and our overall goal of becoming a National Cancer Institute designated center.”
The University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and UC Health have created the Cincinnati Cancer Center—a joint effort designed to leverage the strengths of all three organizations in order to provide the best possible cancer diagnostics, research, treatment, and care for individuals in the Tristate region and the nation. To learn more, visit cincinnaticancercenter.org.