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CRI Awards $14.6 Million in Grants and Fellowships

Philanthropic money supporting cancer immunotherapy research around the world

NEW YORK, August 27, 2013—The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a New York-based nonprofit organization committed to developing immune system-based cancer treatments, awarded more than $14.6 million in grants and fellowships in the 2013 fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. That funding supports pioneering clinical and laboratory research on cancer immunotherapy.

Cancer immunotherapy is a new class of cancer treatment that mobilizes the immune system to fight the disease and represents the most immediate hope for curing patients with any type of cancer.

Cancer Research Institute gave 47 awards that will contribute to cancer immunology research at 55 institutions in 11 countries.

“The field of cancer immunotherapy is exciting right now because it’s growing so quickly and turning up so many promising results,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute. “It’s an important part of our mission to support that growth through funding research at all stages, and we’re eager to see the new breakthroughs coming from these grants and fellowships.”

The awards include:

  • 8 Clinic and Laboratory Integration Program (CLIP) grants, which provide two years of support for translational laboratory studies focusing on cancer immunotherapy that are designed to address new scientific questions arising in the course of clinical trials, thereby helping to improve the design of future trials
  • 22 Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship Program awards, which provide up to three years of post-graduate support for new research fellows working under the guidance of a sponsor
  • 4 Student Training and Research in Tumor Immunology (STaRT) grants, which fund graduate studies in tumor immunology.
  • 4 Clinical Accelerator grants, most notably an $8.3 million grant to support a multi-arm, phase I trial of anti-PD-L1 antibody combined with an anti-CTLA-4 antibody in patients with six different types of cancers
  • 5 William B. Coley Awards for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology
  • 1 AACR-CRI Lloyd J. Old Award in Cancer Immunology
  • 2 designated grants
  • 1 patient support grant for the Drive Against Prostate Cancer

One of the year’s CLIP grants went to Ellen Puré, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Animal Biology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Puré and her team are developing synthetically engineered immune cells that kill noncancerous cells in the lungs that are blocking access to tumors or inhibiting the immune system when it tries to attack tumors. Even more exciting, she said the treatment shows strong promise when used with other immunotherapies in boosting overall effectiveness.

“There is a growing body of evidence showing the immune system can be harnessed to treat and prevent cancer,” Puré said. “With the support of the CLIP grant, we are laying the groundwork for a cancer treatment that we hope can be effective by itself and working in combination with other immunotherapies. We’ve had some exciting preliminary results and I appreciate CRI’s role in advancing that research.”

For a full list of 2013 grant and fellowship award recipients, visit www.cancerresearch.org/fy2013-grantees. More information about CRI’s grants, fellowships and other programs is available at www.cancerresearch.org/grants-programs. For a map showing locations of past and current CRI-funded scientists, go to www.cancerresearch.org/globe.

*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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