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Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Awards granted for pioneering ideas in cancer research
Date:1/23/2012

New York, NY (January 23, 2012) The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation announced that five scientists with novel approaches to fighting cancer have been named 2012 recipients of the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award. The grant of $450,000 over three years is awarded each year to early career scientists whose projects have the potential to significantly impact the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

2012 Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovators:

Gregory L. Beatty, MD, PhD [Nadia's Gift Foundation Innovator]
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tumor-associated immune cells called macrophages are a key component of the tumor microenvironment and often portend a poor prognosis. Macrophages are critical regulators of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Interestingly, the function of macrophages is dependent on their surrounding microenvironment such that under certain conditions, macrophages can actually become tumor-suppressive. The central hypothesis of Dr. Beatty's work is that macrophages are an important yet pliable factor in tumor behavior, which can be therapeutically targeted and instructed to attack tumors and inhibit tumor growth.

Dr. Beatty will evaluate strategies to engineer macrophages to attack tumors and to resist signals produced within tumors that ordinarily prime macrophages with tumor-promoting properties. He aims to combine these macrophage-directed approaches with standard chemotherapy. The priority is to develop the necessary data to facilitate the rapid translation of this strategic approach to the clinic for treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer and other malignancies.

Jay R. Hesselberth, PhD
University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado

Most early detection strategies for cancer focus on identifying protein biomarkers or "molecular signatures" of disease. However, discovery of new biomarkers has lagged, due
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Contact: Yung S. Lie, Ph.D.
yung.lie@damonrunyon.org
212-455-0521
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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