New recipients for the 2021 NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards announced

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) and the NCCN Foundation® today announced six new recipients for the 2021 NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards (YIA) Program. The honorees will receive up to $150,000 in funding, over two years, to advance important research on important issues in oncology. These early-career investigators from NCCN Member Institutions represent tomorrow's leaders for advancing cancer care. The NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) managed the selection process and will provide guidance and oversight for the projects over the grant duration.

"NCCN is committed to improving the lives of people with cancer by supporting research that is novel, transparent, and meaningful," said Wui-Jin Koh, MD, Chief Medical Officer, NCCN. "The NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards Program exemplifies this objective by fostering emerging talent and exploring promising areas for study. Congratulations to all of the impressive investigators selected for these awards."

The 2021 NCCN Foundation YIA recipients are:

  • Esra Akbay, PhD, UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center

    Activating Anti-Tumor Innate Immunity to Overcome Checkpoint Blockade Resistance in NSCLC

  • William C. Jackson, MD, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center

    A Phase II Randomized Trial of Moderate versus Ultra-Hypofractionated Post-Prostatectomy Radiation Therapy

  • Everett Moding, MD, PhD, Stanford Cancer Institute

    Resolving Sarcoma Evolution During Tumor Development and Radiation Therapy

  • Neelima Navuluri, MD, MPH, Duke Cancer Institute

    Intervention Mapping to Improve Lung Cancer Screening Among Black Veterans

  • Deborah Stephens, DO, Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

    Non-melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL): Biology and Prevention

  • Caitlin Zebley, MD, PhD, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

    Epigenetic Reprogramming of CAR T-Cell Therapy

The NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Award recipients over the years have contributed an impactful body of work to improve quality, equity, effectiveness, and efficiency in cancer care, and we're happy to continue that this year. We're eager to see how these leading young researchers improve outcomes for future cancer patients."

Patrick Delaney, Executive Director, NCCN Foundation

The research from these six recipients will be presented during the NCCN 2023 Annual Conference. Recipients of the 2018 NCCN Young Investigator Awards recently presented their research during the NCCN 2021 Virtual Annual Conference; those abstracts are now available in JNCCN--Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. The NCCN Foundation has awarded $8.1 million since 2011 through the YIA program, to a total of 57 researchers.

The NCCN ORP fosters innovation and knowledge discovery that improves the lives of people with cancer and supports preclinical, translational, and clinical research and quality improvement projects in oncology at NCCN Member Institutions. In an effort to improve collaboration in cancer research, the NCCN ORP also maintains a shared resources website and an informed consent database. For more information on these and other collaborative cancer research projects, see

The 2021 NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards were made possible through support from AbbVie; Amgen Inc.; AstraZeneca; Pharmacyclics, An AbbVie Company; and Sanofi Genzyme. The 2021 NCCN Foundation YIA Program is also supported by a grant from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Visit to learn more or to make a donation to the NCCN Foundation.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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