Roswell Park Investigators Awarded More than $1 Million in Donor Support to Obtain Pilot Data

Studies identified as the most promising preliminary projects following an internal competitive review process
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Highlights: 
14 preliminary studies advancing with donor support
More than $1 million awarded to most promising studies
Donations received through individual gifts, special events
Fourteen promising preliminary cancer research projects recently received more than $1 million from the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation.

Fourteen promising preliminary cancer research projects at Roswell Park Cancer Institute recently received a total of $1,342,938 from the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that raises funds and manages all donations made to Roswell Park. Nine grants went to researchers who received a portion of the funds following a competitive peer-review process that is led by the Foundation.

The researchers submitted their project proposals to the Alliance Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), made up of objective Roswell Park scientists, who scored the applications and selected the projects that would receive funding based on their potential to find cancer cures and save lives.

“Investigating and developing new approaches to treating cancer is critical to our mission,” said Candace S. Johnson, PhD, President and CEO of Roswell Park. “These projects show great promise for improving the way we understand, prevent and treat cancer, and they wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our donors and the support of the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation.”

The fall 2017 request for applications solicited and received 51 applications. Here are the nine that were selected by the SAC to receive grant awards, totaling $897,357:

  1. Fumito Ito, MD, PhD, Department of Surgical Oncology and Center for Immunotherapy, received $100,000 for his project “The chemokine receptor CX3CR1-guided cancer immunotherapy.”
  2. Elizabeth Repasky, PhD, Department of Immunology, received $100,000 for her project “Adrenergic signaling at the crossroads of cancer and aging: Mechanisms and implications.”
  3. Dean Tang, PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, received $100,000 for his project “Novel therapeutic strategies to co-target undifferentiated prostate cancer stem cells and bulk prostate cancer cells.”
  4. Marc Ernstoff, MD, Department of Medicine, received $98,362 for his project “A phase Ib/II study of propranolol with fixed-dose pembrolizumab in patients with unresectable stage III and IV melanoma.”
  5. Michael Ciesielski, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, received $100,000 for his project “Development of a surface-survivin targeted CAR-T cell immunotherapeutic.”
  6. Sharon Evans, PhD, Department of Immunology, received $100,000 for her project “Novel mechanism of intravascular immune suppression in cancer.”
  7. Scott Olejniczak, PhD, Department of Immunology, received $100,000 for his project “Novel role for Ars2-directed nuclear RNA processing in support of adoptive T-cell immunotherapy.”
  8. Asoke Mal, PhD, Department of Cell Stress Biology, and Eugene Yu, PhD, Department of Cancer Genetics and Genomics, received $98,995 for their project “Developing a universal CRISPR/Cas9-facilitated chromosome engineering technology for precise modeling of any chromosomal translocation/fusion oncoprotein-associated human tumors.”
  9. Boyko Atanassov, PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Yuesheng Zhang, MD, PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, received $100,000 for their project “Targeting EGFR in triple negative breast cancer.”

Through separately managed processes, the Foundation also awarded funds to support research efforts for the following investigators. All were determined to be strategic priorities associated with the Cancer Center Support Grant:

  1. Rodney Haring, PhD, MSW, Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, and Eliza Rodriguez, PhD, MS, Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, received $45,581 for their project “Strengthening knowledge for future generations: Cancer bio-banks in the landscapes of the Haudenosaunee.”
  2. Andrei Gudkov, PhD, DSci, Department of Cell Stress Biology, received $100,000 for development of a P01 with several Cell Stress and Biophysical Therapies program members.
  3. Boyko Atanassov, PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics; Michael Feigin, PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics; and Christos Fountzilas, MD, Department of Medicine, each received $33,333 for their respective research projects within the Experimental Therapeutics program.
  4. John Krolewski, MD, PhD, Department of Cancer Genetics and Genomics, will oversee the $100,000 to be used by Genetics and Genomics program members for developing a Roswell-specific pipeline for next-generation sequencing.
  5. Christine Ambrosone, PhD, Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, will oversee $100,000 for the Population Sciences program members as they focus on exercise interventions in cancer patients.

These projects were made possible through the generosity of Roswell Park supporters, including individual gifts and donations to events like The Ride For Roswell, Goin' Bald for Bucks, Empire State Ride and Team Roswell. Learn more about the funding process at RoswellPark.org/Giving.

Media Contact: 

Amy Biber Collson, Director, Development Marketing & Communications
716-845-1038; amy.biber@roswellpark.org