The Cancer Center at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) has received a five-year core grant renewal from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The renewal, which runs through 2015, will provide more than $21 million to support advanced cancer research, a 21 percent increase over the previous grant. Sanford-Burnham has been an NCI-designated basic research Cancer Center since 1981, one of only seven in the nation.
“NCI Cancer Center designation is a national benchmark, and our renewal with an “outstanding” rating confirms the exceptional quality of cancer research at Sanford-Burnham,” said President Kristiina Vuori, M.D., Ph.D. “The significant budget increase we received is a tremendous honor and a reflection of the hard work and dedication by faculty and staff throughout the Institute.” Dr. Vuori is Pauline and Stanley Foster Presidential Chair, professor and director of the NCI-designated Cancer Center and principal investigator for the NCI core grant at Sanford-Burnham.
With world-class drug discovery capabilities at Sanford-Burnham’s Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics and more than 400 scientists dedicated to cancer research, Sanford-Burnham is working to translate significant basic research findings into prototype treatments and diagnostics. The Cancer Center also leverages findings from the Institute’s research in inflammation, neurobiology, metabolic diseases and stem cell biology to enhance our understanding of how cancer develops, grows and spreads.
In recent months, Sanford-Burnham researchers have made several exciting breakthroughs, including creating a peptide (a piece of a protein) that makes tumors more porous, improving penetration of cancer medicines into solid tumors; devising chemicals that defeat cancer’s defense mechanisms against chemotherapy and radiotherapy by neutralizing a class of protective proteins that guard cancer cells; creating a version of an anti-inflammatory drug, the Cox-2 inhibitor Sulindac, with promising anti-cancer effects; and showing that deadly primitive cancer stem cells can be forced to mature into non-malignant tissues.
“We are very gratified that the NCI continues to endorse our cutting-edge cancer research initiatives at Sanford-Burnham,” said CEO John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Donald Bren Chief Executive Chair. “The impressive increase in funding awarded to our Cancer Center at a time when NIH funding is extremely limited is validation that NCI appreciates our unique strategy, whereby teams of highly collaborative scientists work together, armed with access to some of the world’s most advanced technologies, to translate insightful laboratory discoveries into new medicines that will ultimately save countless lives.”