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Nine Stanford scientists receive cancer research funding totaling $13 million

Photo of the nine researchers

(From top, left to right) Paul Mischel, Michelle Monje, Howard Chang, Calvin Kuo, Emma Lundberg, Robbie Majzner, Carolyn Bertozzi, Ansuman Satpathy and Irving Weissman have received grants from Cancer Grand Challenges.

Courtesy of Cancer Grand Challenges

By Erin Digitale

Nine Stanford scientists are among the recipients of large grants from Cancer Grand Challenges, a global funding initiative founded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and Cancer Research UK. The funding was announced June 16.

Stanford scientists will receive about $13 million over the next five years to tackle a variety of problems in cancer research. The funding is a portion of $100 million being provided to four teams of researchers from institutions around the world. Each team will address a specific research challenge. Stanford researchers are contributing to three of the teams.

Study of extrachromosomal DNA
Paul Mischel, MD, professor of pathology and an institute scholar at Sarafan ChEM-H, will lead the study of extrachromosomal DNA, which consists of small, circular pieces of genetic information that drive tumor evolution and cause cancers in some individuals to become resistant to treatment. Extrachromosomal DNA is present in around a third of cancers and promotes aggressive tumor behavior.

“We’re poised to transform the collective understanding of many aggressive forms of cancer,” Mischel said. “We believe we can provide new insight into how to diagnose, monitor and treat patients for whom current therapies do not work.”

Mischel’s team includes Howard Chang, MD, PhD, professor of genetics and the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor in Cancer Research, and Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences, as well as scientists from 10 other institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.