Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research today announced grant recipients of its first-ever Collaborative Research grant program. The inaugural awards total $800,000 for two groundbreaking research initiatives that span the medical capitals of New York, Boston and Chicago.
These new collaborative grants signal an effort to further support important discoveries that are emerging now as a result of initial funding by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation. To date, the organization has supported more than 100 leading junior investigators totaling more than $20 million, and is one of the nation's largest non-governmental sources of grant support for blood cancer research.
"Gabrielle's Angel Foundation provides initial funding for innovative clinical or basic research, giving scientists vital support in the early stages of scientific development," said Dr. Stephen D. Nimer, director of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami in Florida and chairman of the Foundation's Medical Advisory Board. "What is particularly exciting about these new collaborative grants is that they not only prove the value of the initial investment, they bring scientists and institutions together to significantly accelerate and broaden the impact of their work."
The first of the two $400,000 collaborative grants will fund Anthony Letai, MD, PhD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Scott Armstrong, MD, PhD, of New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. They will collaborate on a study to identify subsets within acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) cells that cause resistance to chemotherapy, and develop therapies to target mechanisms that scientists believe make AML incurable.
Ari Melnick, MD, of Weill Cornell Medical College, Ross Levine, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Chuan He, PhD, at The University of Chicago will be awarded the second $400,000 grant. These scientists have already identified a new type of AML; the goal of their newly funded research will be to identify the molecular cause of these leukemias and develop a basis for treatments to help these patients.
The Foundation notified its researchers of their new funding on Tuesday at its Third Annual Medical Symposium & Luncheon, a day-long event that serves as an opportunity for researchers to share their latest findings and discuss potential research collaborations like those being funded today.
Faced with choosing between two remarkable sets of researchers promoting new research with life-altering potential, the Foundation's 10-member Medical Advisory Board decided to double its grant amount from $400,000 to $800,000 to ensure funding for both groups.
Made possible by a generous gift in 2011, the collaborative research project was designed to encourage partnerships between cancer investigators previously funded by the Foundation. The collaborations all maintain the continued goal of developing better treatments - and ultimately a cure - for blood-related cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
Led by Dr. Nimer, the Foundation's Medical Advisory Board is comprised of the country's leading experts in the fields of hematology and oncology.
"Gabrielle truly believed in research," said the Foundation's President and Co-Founder Denise Rich. "This re-investment in our past grantees is a testament to their prior work and we are thrilled to help them accelerate their exciting progress."