Takiko Daikoku, Ph.D. - CONquer canCER Now Award Recipient, 2009-2011
The funds from the Concern Foundation have been of enormous value to our work on cancer biology. Being a woman myself, I have developed a keen interest in endometrial cancer (EMC) with the goal of preventing suffering and deaths from this deadly disease. EMC is a common gynecological malignancy and each year about 40,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with this cancer, with approximately 6,000 of them dying from the disease.
Our continuing objective is to understand the underlying mechanism of initiation and progression of EMC. In this effort, we were able to establish and characterize novel mouse models of EMC during this funding period. We are currently using these mouse models to further explore the initiation and progression of EMC.
Due to the very tight economic situation over the past few years, funding opportunities for researchers in the US have been compromised. Even experienced investigators are struggling to keep their projects alive because of reduced funding opportunities from the NIH, and surely it is tougher for young investigators like me to get funding.
I sincerely appreciate the Concern Foundation’s generosity in funding my research, especially in this difficult situation. This fund allowed me to develop not only current project, but also helped in advancing my career and preparing other grant applications.
Manel Camps, Ph.D. - CONquer canCER Now Award Recipient, 2009-2011
I am very grateful to the Concern Foundation for its support. As starting faculty you transition from being a bench scientist to being a scientific manager, in part because the new position comes with a multiplicity of commitments that pull you away from the bench...while you need to keep up a record of productivity in order to secure funding for your research.
By providing support for a postdoctoral fellow, Concern's support greatly facilitates this difficult transition, allowing young investigators to establish themselves and their innovative ideas to make a difference for the management of cancer. In my case, my goal is to improve the ability of DNA repair enzymes to protect cells from the deleterious effects of chemotherapeutic methylating agents. These modified enzymes can be used to protect sensitive organs (particularly bone marrow) in patients undergoing chemotherapy, alleviating the side-effects of treatment.
Thanks to Concern’s support, I have been able to generate mutant enzymes with enhanced activity against a critical lesion, 3-methyl Adenine. Although we haven't yet addressed their effectiveness in mammalian cells, these mutant enzymes have provided critical insights into mechanisms of DNA repair action. These studies were included in a grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health that received favorable reviews. Funding of this proposal should secure the continuation of this project, and the development of its translational aspects.