This year, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has announced fourteen researchers as award recipients of the organization’s Quest for Cures — a new research funding program that seeks to give scientists in three critical areas of blood cancer research the grant money needed to continue their work. Among the fourteen recipients, University of Texas MD Anderson researcher Dr. Larry Kwak, M.D., Ph.D., has been awarded a grant in the program’s third priority research area of studying tumor microenvironment in blood cancers.
Specifically, Dr. Kawk will use his funding to continue his research into targeting myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the lymphoma microenvironment.
Dr Kawk is not new to the science and research spotlight. In 2010, he was selected by Time Magazine as one of the one-hundred most influential people in the world for his work into helping cancer patients boost and focus their immune system to fight the disease. Back in 2010 Dr. Kwak’s study participants saw a 47% success rate with virtually no side-effects from the treatments — a success story that is inextricably linked to the recent breakthroughs that MD Anderson and Dr. James Allison have realized in cancer immunotherapy.
This video highlights Dr. Kwak’s research vision for fighting cancer:
Quest for Cures is specifically focused on three priority areas of blood cancer research: “monitoring tumor cell heterogeneity and its contribution to response or resistance to therapy; molecular mechanisms to identify and direct subsets of patients with B-cell malignancies to the right therapy; and the role of tumor microenvironment in initiation and maintenance of blood cancers.” Each grant in these three categories range from$200,000 to $400,000, and are given annually for two years. The funding is facilitated by Celgene through the LLS’s new “Targets, Leads and Candidates Program.” This program identifies and funds priority research areas, with support from biotechnology and pharmaceutical partners.
“The Quest for Cures research topics enable LLS to continue to drive a progressive research agenda to improve outcomes for patients who urgently need therapies,” said Lee Greenberger, Ph.D., LLS chief scientific officer. “Most importantly, this research will, hopefully, lead to an understanding as to why current treatment methods are not successful and identify new treatments regimens.”
Researchers will soon have another opportunity to apply for grants for next year, as the LLS will be announcing a new round of Quest for Cures requests for proposals in February. This year’s RFPs will seek to find researchers working in new topics associated with blood cancers, which will be detailed in advertisements in the February and March issues of the journal Blood.
Visit this link to learn more about the program.