Friday, April 24, 2015

MGH Cancer Center receives second Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team award

TACKLING CANCER: From left, Otis W. Brawley, MD, ACS chief medical officer; Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, co-leader of SU2C-ACS Lung Cancer Dream Team; Sung Poblete, SU2C president and CEO; Engelman; and William H. Chambers, MD, vice-chairperson of SU2C-ACS Joint Scientific Advisory Committee

Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) announced the formation of a new Dream Team to tackle the problem of lung cancer during the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) held April 20 in Philadelphia. ACS estimates that 221,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with lung and bronchial cancer in 201, and 158,040 will die from it, making lung cancer the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women.

The new Dream Team will be led by Jeffrey Engelman, MD, PhD, director of the MGH Center for Thoracic Cancers. The award provides $20 million to researchers, clinicians and a patient advocate to study the use of targeted therapy andimmunotherapy to eradicate tumors driven by the KRAS mutation, which is found in about 20 to 25 percent of lung cancer patients.

“We plan to use these new combination therapies to improve quality of life for our patients and have a dramatic impact on outcomes,” says Engelman. “I’m proud to be working with such an impressive group of scientists from some of the leading institutions around the world.”

Engelman will be supported at the MGH by fellow investigators Nir Hacohen, PhD; Beow Yong Yeap, ScD; Cyril Benes, PhD; and Justin Gainor, MD. The other Dream Team members come from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Yale Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson, UCSF Helen Diller Cancer Center, UC Davis Cancer Center and the LUNGevity Foundation. They will be joined by Jeffrey Wigbels, a lung cancer survivor.

SU2C and ACS will each provide up to $10 million over the three-year life of the grant. Bristol-Myers Squibb is providing funding in the amount of $5 million to SU2C that supports the SU2C-ACS Lung Cancer Dream Team. This is one of 16 SU2C Dream Teams
that have now been funded by the SU2C organization, and is the second one for the MGH. In 2009, the MGH Cancer Center was awarded one of the first Dream Team awards for their innovative research in the circulating tumor cell chip work led by Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, director of the Cancer Center, and Mehmet Toner, PhD, director of the BioMEMS Resource Center.

SU2C is a charitable program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation and was established by media and entertainment industry leaders to raise awareness and accelerate developments made in cancer research.

Read more articles from the 04/24/15 Hotline issue.

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