V's Voice

Grateful Grants: A Step Forward

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Amy Kreis, junior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, is one of two interns this semester. Here is her first blog post in the Grateful Grants series. 

When The V Foundation awards grants to leading scientists, we like to think that each dollar is equivalent to a step towards putting an end to cancer. I am no scientist, but I am a believer in the scientists that The V Foundation supports. Although we celebrate each new grant awarded, it is equally important to appreciate the research behind the scientist.

Faith Uckun, M.D., Ph.D., who received a Translational Grant in 2011, is fighting leukemia in a new way. With a team of physician-scientists, Uckun made a breakthrough discovery in understanding how the body fights leukemia.

Translational grants facilitate the transition of research from the laboratory to the clinic. These grants are for $600,000 and a three-year commitment.  Translational grants are awarded with the belief that the scientist will be able to apply their new understandings more quickly from the lab to the patients who need them. 

Dr. Uckun did just that. The team has identified a protein on certain white blood cells that facilitate the destruction of leukemia cells and bioengineered a formulation of that protein which destroyed leukemia cells that had been highly resistant to chemotherapy and radiation. With this finding, Dr. Uckun and her team have opened the doors to new therapeutic opportunities for the treatment of leukemia.

We are hoping that our new grant recipients experience the same success as Dr. Uckun. Dr. Nada Kalaany recently received The V Foundation  V Scholar Award for her research study, The Role of PTEN/P13K pathway in obesity associated cancer incidence and progression.

Like translational grants, V Scholar grants are awarded to young investigators who are selected by The V Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Kalaany was selected among the numerous promising individuals to conduct her own research project.

Dr. Kalaany is on the right path to uncovering preventative strategies for patients at risk for obesity associated cancers.

Regardless of the type of grant given, The V Foundation could not be more proud of the steps we are taking towards eradicating cancer. There are more steps left in the race, however, we hope that with our support of the leading scientists, we will reach the finish line soon.

 

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