The Gastric Cancer Foundation is committed to addressing a key funding gap in research: Very little funding is available to early- and mid-stage career scientists who have novel ideas for treating gastric cancer. We are committed to filling this gap, in the hopes of advancing new breakthroughs for treating this tough cancer.
Therefore the Foundation is proud to announce it has awarded two new $100,000 research grants. The first will go to Eunyoung Choi, Ph.D., assistant professor in the section of surgical science at Vanderbilt University, who is focused on interrupting the transformation of precancerous stomach tissue into cancer. Choi’s research focuses on a population of cells discovered in her lab called dysplastic stem cells. Dysplasia is a precancerous condition of the stomach that has an 80% chance of progressing to gastric cancer. Choi’s study is designed to test whether it’s possible to inhibit the process by which dysplastic stem cells transform into cancer.
Specifically, Choi’s study will examine whether inhibiting an enzyme called SCD1 in mice with gastric dysplasia can prevent progression to cancer. Choi also plans to study SCD1 inhibition in human gastric pre-cancer cell models.
Seed funding for experiments that are focused on novel approaches is essential, Choi says, because it helps researchers generate the data they need to apply for larger grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “With this one-year grant, we’ll be able to accomplish a lot,” she says. “This is a bridge to long-term funding.” She adds, “I love that this foundation is focused on gastric cancer. There are many patients suffering with this cancer in the world. I’m honored and excited to have this opportunity to help them.”
The second $100,000 grant will go to Nilay S. Sethi, M.D., Ph.D., associate program director of the medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber/Mass General Brigham and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard medical school. Sethi is studying whether a popular class of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer drug could be useful in gastric cancer, too. Check out our next newsletter for further details about Sethi’s research. Learn more about our early-stage grant program here.