Grants Awarded from the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund
The V Foundation for Cancer Research, one of the nation’s leading cancer research funding organizations, is pleased to announce more than $2 million from the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund has been awarded to novel cancer research projects and investigators devoted to studying cancer disparities among minorities. Established in loving remembrance of the longtime ESPN anchor, the Fund continues to explore ethnically based disparities and assists some of the most vulnerable and disproportionately impacted minority populations battling cancer. Kick started by a $100,000 seed grant from ESPN, funds awarded were a result of direct donations and net proceeds of various initiatives.
“The incredible response to this fund in less than a year is a true testament to Stuart’s lasting impact,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “The V Foundation is extremely focused on ensuring that these grants will result in meaningful, difference-making research, inspired by Stuart’s memory and his desire to strengthen the cancer fight within minority populations.”
Scott was a champion for cancer research and well informed about the inconsistencies of cancer’s aggressiveness, therapeutic responsiveness and outcomes in patients from different ethnic populations. He also recognized that one way to increase this research is to encourage minority scientists. The Stuart Scott Fund raises our awareness and understanding of these discrepancies and supports minority scientists launching independent lab research projects. This year’s contributions funded three translational grants, which bring the benefits of basic-level understandings to the patient bedside more quickly and efficiently, as well as two V Scholar grants, which are awarded to promising young scientists at the start of their careers. The translational grants, each a three-year $600,000 commitment, were awarded to research committed to the study of specific characteristics in colorectal, breast and lung cancer that may help explain ethnic differences. The two “rising star” V Scholar grant recipients, both minority researchers, will each receive $200,000 over a two-year period, gaining a competitive edge in the onset of their careers.
“The scientific community has recognized for years that there are differences in cancer incidence and outcomes across ethnic groups,” said Susan Braun, CEO of The V Foundation. “We know that some of these differences are due to limited access to good treatment. But we are also learning that there are characteristics of some cancers that make them more aggressive in some groups than in others. Understanding biological drivers can help us tackle the complex problem of cancer among minorities. Further, we believe that supporting young minority scientists who are dedicated to cancer research brings a unique focus to this pervasive problem so that we can find the best ways to lower the inequitable burden of cancer. “
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, life expectancy and overall health has improved, but not all Americans are benefiting equally. In the research of cancer incidence and experience, The Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund will answer questions such as, why some cancers are more aggressive and more fatal in African Americans or why black men and women both have a higher cancer death rate than their white counterparts, or why cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 21 percent of deaths overall and 15 percent of deaths in children.
A passionate volunteer, advocate and friend of The V Foundation for more than 20 years, Stuart Scott helped raise awareness and funds long before he was diagnosed with cancer in 2007. The V Foundation celebrated Scott’s fighting spirit throughout many events and initiatives this year, and will continue to for years to come. The V Foundation also features a donation page on its website, www.jimmyv.org/stuartscott, for those wishing to contribute to the Fund.
For more information about The V Foundation and the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, please visit www.jimmyv.org.
A complete list of the grants is below.
2015 Translational Grant Recipients Funded by the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund
Sanford Markovitz, M.D., Ph.D.
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Interpreting the Mutational Signature of African American Colorectal Cancers
Ralph Weissleder, M.D., Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Enhanced Holographic Diagnostics and Profiling of Breast Cancer Using Smartphones for Point-of-Care Use
Matthew Meyerson, M.D., Ph.D.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
The Contribution of Germline Genomic Variation to EGFR Mutation Frequency in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers in Latin American Populations: Implications for Cancer Risk Prediction, Screening and Intervention
2015 V Scholar Grant Recipients Funded by the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund
Akinyemi Ojesina, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
Metatranscriptomic Biomarkers for Predicting Tumor Recurrence
Miguel Rivera, M.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Function of the Protein Kinase VRK1 in Ewing Sarcoma