The American Cancer Society (ACS), the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, has approved funding for three new research grants totaling over $1.7 million to investigators at Yale University. These grants are among 11 new projects in effect across New England as of January 1, 2017 totaling more than $4.4 million dollars.
Lucia Jilaveanu, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) at Yale Cancer Center, is the recipient of one such research grant for her study entitled "Inherent Tropism and/or Immune Modulation in Melanoma Brain Metastasis." Her research will focus on two molecules, PLEKHA5 and CEACAM1, to identify a more targeted treatment option for melanoma that has spread to the brain. Patients with metastatic melanoma have exceedingly limited therapeutic options since historically they have been excluded from clinical trials. The goal is to show a clear role of PLEKHA5 and/or CEACAM1 in the development of melanoma brain metastasis and eventually develop a targeted treatment option for this patient population. Findings from this study may also have an impact on other cancers, including lung cancer.
Yale School of Medicine's Ayman El-Guindy, PhD and Joseph Liberman, PhD also received funding through this grant mechanism. They will be studying "Regulation of Epstein-Barr Virus Late Gene Expression" and "Determining the Structural Basis for RNA Splicing Fidelity," respectively.
The Society's Chief Executive Officer, Gary Reedy, recently announced that the organization intends to double its annual research funding by 2021, which will result in an annual increase of approximately $240 million by 2021. The organization currently spends about $100 million per year in new grants to academic research institutions and another $15 to $20 million annually in research by ACS investigators in cancer epidemiology, surveillance and health services, behavioral research, and economics and health policy.