Salk Institute scientists receive funding for cancer research

Salk Institute scientists Ronald Evans, Diana Hargreaves, Tony Hunter, Graham McVicker and Geoffrey Wahl are among the first wave of researchers to receive funding from Padres Pedal the Cause, one of one of the largest stand-alone cancer fundraising events in San Diego. The nonprofit raised $2.4 million for cancer research in November 2017, thanks to the efforts of more than 3,000 bicycle riders, sponsors, volunteers and donors.

Pedal the Cause awards millions of dollars each year via its Discovery Grants program to cross-institutional teams of physicians and scientists from San Diego's best cancer institutions, including the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and Rady Children's Hospital.

"The Padres Pedal the Cause Discovery Grants are opening the door to critically needed research," say Professors Geoffrey Wahl of Salk and Frank Furnari of UC San Diego, who are leading a 2018 Discovery Grant together. "This funding has allowed us to build a highly collaborative research team to tackle glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive brain cancer."

According to Pedal the Cause, the Discovery Grant funding process is highly selective and proposals are screened via a rigorous vetting process. Funding is awarded to best-in-class project submissions to green-light project exploration with the hope that initial findings may lead to additional funding from national sources and, ultimately, a cure.

Salk scientists are co-principal investigators on Projects 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the 2018 Discovery Grants listed below:

Project 1: "Inducing Cytosolic Chromatin Fragments in Cancer Cells to Turn Cold Tumors Hot"
Jack Bui, Moores Cancer Center
Peter Adams, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Project 2: "Understanding and Targeting NRF2 in Pancreatic Cancer"
Michael Karin, Moores Cancer Center
Andrew Lowy, Moores Cancer Center
Jorge Moscat, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Project 3: "Targeting a Therapeutic Vulnerability in PTEN-Deficient Brain Tumors"
Frank Furnari, Moores Cancer Center
Geoffrey Wahl, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Project 4: "Natural Killer Cells for Treatment of Medulloblastoma"
Dan S. Kaufman, Moores Cancer Center
Robert J. Wechsler-Reya, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute

Project 5: "Transcriptomic and Epigenomic Profiling to Reveal Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocyte and Microglia Functional Phenotype and Clonality In Pediatric Brain Tumors"
Anusha Preethi Ganesan, Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego
P. Vijayanand, La Jolla Institute

Project 6: "Responses of Melanoma Patients to Checkpoint Immunotherapy"
Linda Bradley, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Gregory Daniels, Moores Cancer Center

Project 7: "Enhanced Breast Cancer Risk Prediction from Imputed Gene Expression"
Hannah Carter, Moores Cancer Center
Graham McVicker, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Project 8: "Epigenetic Profiling of Endometrial Cancer"
Diana Hargreaves, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Ramez Eskander, Moores Cancer Center

Project 9: "Targeting Fibroblast Heterogeneity to Improve Surgical Outcomes in Pancreatic Cancer"
Ronald M. Evans, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Michael Bouvet, Moores Cancer Center

Project 10: "A Novel Role for Histidine Kinase Activity in Neuroblastoma Pathogenesis"
Peter Zage, Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego
Tony Hunter, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Project 11: "Development and Implementation of a Peer-Navigation Intervention to Improve Research Literacy in Pediatric Cancer Trials"
Paula Aristizabal, Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego
Elena Martinez, UC San Diego Health​​​

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