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Cancer Research Institute Awards $9.7 Million in Grants to Support Tumor Immunology Research

U.S. nonprofit provides critical funding to advance next wave in cancer treatment

NEW YORK, NY – July 6, 2011 – Cancer Research Institute, Inc. (CRI), a U.S. nonprofit organization established in 1953 to advance the science of tumor immunology and foster the discovery of new cancer immunotherapies, announced today that it has awarded $9.7 million in grants to 26 scientists in the U.S., U.K., Japan, and Sweden. The grants provide critical support for graduate programs in tumor immunology, postdoctoral fellowship training, basic and translational laboratory research, and clinical trials of promising therapeutic cancer vaccines.

CRI previously awarded $2 million in postdoctoral fellowship and other grant support during its December 2010 round, bringing total support for its research programs to $11.7 million in the current fiscal year (July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011). This is a 19 percent increase over the prior fiscal year’s annual research budget of $9.5 million.

“Donors to the Cancer Research Institute were very generous in fiscal 2011, allowing us to fund more science and speeding the development of a new class of safer, more effective cancer treatments,” said CRI executive director Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D. “We are very grateful for their support and confidence in our organization, especially at a time when funding for cancer research grows increasingly scarce and scientists rely on us to sustain their important work.”

Recommendations for research funding were made by CRI’s all-volunteer Scientific Advisory Council composed of leaders in immunology and tumor immunology including four Nobel laureates and thirty-one members of the National Academy of Sciences. The CRI Board of Trustees approved the Council’s recommendations during its annual meeting held earlier this month in New York City. These are:

  • $675,000 for CRI Predoctoral Emphasis Pathway in Tumor Immunology graduate student training programs at three U.S. universities (three awards of $225,000 over three years):
    • Harvard Medical School (Glenn Dranoff, M.D., program head)
    • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Hyam Levitsky, M.D., program head)
    • University of Colorado (John Kappler, Ph.D., program head)
  • $1,740,000 for the Irvington Institute Fellowship Program of the Cancer Research Institute to support the training and research of thirteen young scientists (ten awards of $145,500 over three years, and three awards of $95,000 over two years):
    • Julie Chaumeil, Ph.D., with sponsor Jane A. Skok, Ph.D., New York University School of Medicine
    • Sakie Hosoya-Ohmura, Ph.D., with sponsor James D. Engel, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    • Sudha Kumari, Ph.D., with sponsor Michael L. Dustin, Ph.D., New York University Medical Center
    • Yu-Jung Lee, M.D., with sponsor Kristin A. Hogquist, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
    • Michael J. Moore, Ph.D., with sponsor Robert Darnell, M.D., Ph.D., The Rockefeller University
    • Blaise Ndjamen, Ph.D., with sponsor Pamela Bjorkman, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
    • Lisa C. Osborne, Ph.D., with sponsor Davis Artis, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
    • Ingunn M. Stromnes, Ph.D., with sponsor Philip D. Greenberg, Ph.D., University of Washington School of Medicine
    • Ageliki Tsangaratou, Ph.D., with sponsor Anjana Rao, Ph.D., La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
    • Qi Wang, Ph.D., with sponsor John Kuriyan, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
    • John T. Wilson, Ph.D., with sponsors Patrick S. Stayton, Ph.D., and Mary L. Disis, M.D., University of Washington School of Medicine
    • Tangsheng Yi, Ph.D., with sponsor Jason G. Cyster, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
    • Ying Zheng, Ph.D., with sponsor Drew M. Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • $800,000 for the CRI Investigator Award Program (four awards of $200,000 over four years) to provide general laboratory start-up and sustainability support for tenure-track assistant professors:
    • Dimitrios Iliopoulos, Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    • Sergio A. Quezada, Ph.D., University College London
    • Joseph C. Sun, Ph.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    • Liang Zhou, M.D., Ph.D., Northwestern University
  • $6,125,000 for the CRI/LICR Cancer Vaccine Collaborative, including $5.3 million for several early-phase clinical trials of investigational therapeutic cancer vaccine combinations and $825,000 in clinical trial site support. Of the total, $4.5 million is provided through our Cancer Vaccine Acceleration Fund, a novel program of venture philanthropy that speeds the movement of promising cancer immunotherapies into the clinic. $225,000 is generously provided through the Anna-Maria Kellen Clinical Investigator Award:
    • Kunle Odunsi, M.D., Ph.D., Roswell Park Cancer Institute
    • Hiroshi Shiku, M.D., Mie University
    • Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • $400,000 in Designated Grant funding to:
    • George Klein, M.D., D.Sc., Karolinska Institute
    • Malcolm A.S. Moore, D.Phil., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    • Eiichi Nakayama, M.D., Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare


About the Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world’s only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to transforming cancer patient care by advancing scientific efforts to develop new and effective immune system-based strategies to treat, control, and prevent cancer. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes four Nobel laureates and thirty-one members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested more than $200 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To accelerate the pace of progress in the field, CRI convenes and coordinates global collaborations among academics, industry scientists and decision makers, regulatory representatives, and health research associations focused on discovery, development, and refinement of new cancer immunotherapies. A founding visionary and scientific leader in tumor immunology, CRI is helping to shape the emerging field of immuno-oncology, and is ushering in a new era of medical progress to bring more treatment options to cancer patients sooner.

The Cancer Research Institute has one of the lowest overhead expense ratios among nonprofit organizations, with more than 85 percent of its resources going directly to the support of its science, medical, and research programs. CRI meets or exceeds all 20 standards of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, the most comprehensive U.S. charity evaluation service, and has earned the GuideStar Exchange Seal, indicating our commitment to the transparency of our organizational information to donors, funders, those we serve, the public, and regulators. CRI has also received an ‘A’ grade for fiscal disclosure and efficiency from the American Institute of Philanthropy, as well as top accolades from other charity watchdog organizations. For more information, visit http://www.cancerresearch.org.

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