AACR-Incyte Corporation Career Development Awards
The AACR-Incyte Corporation Career Development Awards represent a joint effort to encourage and support junior faculty, who have completed their most recent doctoral degree or medical residency within the past 11 years, to conduct cancer research and establish successful career paths in this field. The research proposed for funding may be basic, translational, clinical, or epidemiological in nature and must have direct applicability and relevance to cancer.
AACR-Incyte Career Development Awards for Immuno-oncology Research
Bethany Mundy-Bosse, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
The Ohio State University
Evasion of innate immunity by miR-29b modulation
Scientific Statement of Research
Understanding how a tumor evades the immune system will remove a large barrier to effectively treating cancer with well-tolerated and potentially curative therapies. While natural killer (NK) cells can induce clinical responses and even cures in certain subsets of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the overall survival rate of all AML is still less than 30 percent. Understanding how leukemic blasts from patients with AML evade detection by NK cells is critical to expanding NK cell therapies. Dr. Mundy-Bosse has previously demonstrated that AML alters the development of NK cells, and also the expression of miR-29b, a key regulator of transcription factors responsible for NK cell maturation. Extending on these findings, Dr. Mundy-Bosse seeks to determine the underlying mechanism(s) driving the overexpression of miR-29b in NK cells, and to determine the importance of miR-29b dysregulation in NK cells on the genesis of AML.
Educated at Indiana University and The Ohio State University, Bethany Mundy-Bosse, PhD, is a research assistant professor at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Having trained under Dr. William E. Carson III, and Dr. Michael A. Caligiuri, Dr. Mundy-Bosse focuses her research efforts on tumor immunology and natural killer (NK) cell biology. She has obtained numerous fellowships and awards throughout her career from both the NIH and private organizations such as Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation. Dr. Mundy-Bosse seeks to improve clinical outcomes by understanding immune surveillance and evasion to develop targeted well-tolerated therapies for cancer patients.
Acknowledgement of Support
As an investigator embarking on the earliest stage of my career in tumor immunology research, receiving this prestigious AACR Career Development Award is critical to provide the tools necessary for establishing a pathway to early research success and ultimately improved outcomes for cancer patients.
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AACR-Incyte Corporation Career Development Award for Pancreatic Cancer Research
Laura DeLong Wood, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pathology
Johns Hopkins University
Investigation of genetic heterogeneity in pancreatic cancer precursors
Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease with a dismal prognosis. However, invasive pancreatic cancer arises from non-invasive precancerous lesions that are curable if detected in time. Pancreatic cancer can form through two possible pathways – the first involves precancerous lesions that are too small to be seen without a microscope, while the second proceeds through large cysts that can be detected with currently available imaging technologies. In both of these pathways, cancer occurs due to the accumulation of genetic errors (DNA mutations) that provide a selective growth advantage. Although early genetic analyses assumed that all cells in a tumor were identical, recent studies have shown that there is significant variability in the mutations even within a single patient's tumor. Moreover, this variability, also called genetic heterogeneity, occurs in precancerous lesions in the pancreas. Although this genetic heterogeneity in precancerous lesions has profound implications in the early stages of tumor formation in the pancreas, it is yet to be studied in detail. The overall goal of these studies is to systematically study genetic heterogeneity in pancreatic cancer precursor lesions. These studies will separately analyze both pathways of pancreatic cancer formation (microscopic precursors and large precursors) – comprehensive analysis of both pathways will ensure that the findings are applicable to all patients with pancreatic cancer precursors. After careful pathological review of well-characterized human tissue samples, the variability in mutations in key cancer genes in pancreatic cancer precursors will be examined. These studies will utilize multiple cutting-edge techniques, including single cell sequencing and in situ mutation detection, to most effectively identify mutations in the precursor lesions. In addition, in order to determine whether this genetic heterogeneity is driving the progression of pancreatic neoplasia, the functional effects of this heterogeneity will be investigated in an innovative three-dimensional culture model of human pancreatic neoplasia. These studies will provide the most complete look at pancreatic cancer precursors to date and will greatly impact future approaches to early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer.
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