Biodesign Institute researchers have received nearly $9 million in grants to develop a preventive vaccine against cancer.
Stephen Albert Johnston, PhD, director of the institutes Center for Innovations in Medicine, will focus his research project on breast cancer. Johnston is one of only two recipients in the nation bestowed with a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the Department of Defenses Innovator Award, funded through its Breast Cancer Research Program. His Biodesign research colleague, Douglas Lake, PhD, will lead a three-year $1.2 million project from the W. M. Keck Foundation to take the basic technology and see whether it could be applied to several other forms of cancer.
The grants mark the first major federal and private awards for such an approach and ramp up a cancer research collaborative initiative with the Mayo Clinic.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., with an estimated 1.45 million cases of cancer diagnosed this year. More than 560,000 people will die from the disease.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. The Department of Defense, using appropriations from a congressionally directed medical research program, has sought to eradicate breast cancer by funding innovative, high-impact research through a partnership of scientists and consumers. The Innovator Award recognizes individuals who have a "history of visionary scholarship, leadership and creativity."
Breast cancers course is often long and devastating and, despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, one in five women still succumb to the disease, said Johnston. Its time to fundamentally rethink how we approach this problem. Our goal, based on some promising preliminary results, is to see if we can make a vaccine that would be given to all adult women to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer