Newswise — PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [May 8, 2019] — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) and the NCCN Foundation® today announced four recipients of the annual Young Investigator Awards. These awards provide funding and study support to some of the most promising early-career cancer researchers from across the 28 leading academic cancer centers that comprise NCCN. Past recipients were on-hand at the NCCN 2019 Annual Conference to present their findings as posters and oral presentations, reflecting the conference’s expanding focus on original research. The conference also included a program specifically for future oncology practitioners, or Fellows, furthering NCCN’s commitment to nurture rising talent in the field of oncology.
“From our young investigator awardees to our poster presenters and fellows, NCCN recognizes our important role in preparing for the oncology practices of tomorrow,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “Past Young Investigator Awardees have gone on to publish important findings and even to chair NCCN Guidelines Panels. We’re learning more every day about how cancer works and how best to keep it under control. It’s crucial that we keep cultivating future generations of cancer experts who are prepared to continue advancing standards of care.”
This year’s Young Investigator Awards—selected and managed by the NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) and funded through support from the NCCN Foundation from AbbVie, Astra Zeneca, Genentech, Inc., Incyte, Merck & Co., Inc., and Pfizer—went to:
- Prasanna Ananth, MD, MPH, Yale Cancer Center, Establishing Benchmarks for High Quality End-of-Life Care in Children with Cancer
- Jaehyuk Choi, MD, PhD, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Genomic Determinants of Responses to Immunotherapy in Merkel Cell Carcinoma
- Kedar Kirtane MD, Moffitt Cancer Center, Feasibility of a Digitized Peer-to-Peer Patient Support System for Patients with Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer Undergoing Chemoradiation
- Yanming Li, PhD, University of Michigan, Network Genome-Wide Association Studies for Early Detection of Cancers
In addition, the following past recipients presented their findings as part of the oral and poster presentations at the NCCN 2019 Annual Conference:
- Saad Kenderian, MB, CHB, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Axl-RTK Inhibition Modulates T cell Functions and Synergizes with Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy in B Cell Malignancies
- Sara Khor, MASc (on behalf of Kemi M. Doll, MD, MCSR), University of Washington, Mechanisms of Diagnostic Delay Among Black Women with Endometrial Cancer (EC): Results from Qualitative Interviews and a National Analysis of Healthcare Data
- Florian Muller, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Collateral Deletion of Glycolysis Genes Generates Selective Vulnerabilities to Inhibitors of Oxidative Phosphorylation
- Saul Priceman, PhD, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer Combining CAR-Engineered T Cells with Targeted Immune Checkpoint Inhibition
- Liqin Zhu, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Patient-Derived Tumor Organoids for Drug Discovery of High Risk Hepatoblastoma
The presentations were among 131 different research posters presented across two days; the most abstracts ever accepted at an NCCN Annual Conference. The posters were categorized as: pre-clinical oncology, correlative/genomic, outcomes and health services research, and clinical oncology, with all categories well represented. Each poster was independently scored by a peer review committee of oncology faculty from NCCN Member Institutions. All Young Investigator Award presentations, as well as the top five non-YIA abstracts, were invited to take part in the special recognition oral poster presentation, a new feature at this year’s conference.
Abstracts and images from all 131 posters can be viewed online at JNCCN.org.
This year’s poster presenters included Yamini Ananth, a senior at Appleton High School, who worked with a mentor at Johns Hopkins University to study tumor molecular data of glioblastoma patients with BRAF V600E mutation. Another presenter, Shulin Yu, traveled from Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center to present her work on evaluating the feasibility of developing a diagnostic or prognostic signature for early detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. She explained that she spent the weeks leading up to the conference learning how to speak English for the first time, in order to communicate her results in person.
The NCCN 2019 Annual Conference also facilitated career development for early-career cancer experts through a series of programs specifically intended for the Fellows in attendance. Those events included a peer meet-and-greet networking event, a mentoring program connecting NCCN Guidelines panel chairs of today with the potential leaders of tomorrow, and a post-conference program on New Horizons in Quality Cancer Care™ with presentations from faculty at Moffitt Cancer Center, Duke Cancer Institute, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
“This was a really impactful collection of programs to take part in as a fellow,” said Rohit Gosain, MD, Clinical Fellow with the Department of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY. “The sessions were very practical, clinically oriented, and at the cutting edge.”
The NCCN 2020 Annual Conference will commemorate 25 years of existence for the nonprofit alliance. It will be held in Orlando on March 20-22, 2020, and include research presentations from the 2018 cohort of Young Investigator Award recipients. Visit NCCN.org/conference for more information, and visit NCCN.org/ORP to stay up-to-date on all of NCCN’s efforts pertaining to cancer research.
About the NCCN Foundation
The NCCN Foundation® was founded by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) to empower people with cancer and advance oncology innovation. The NCCN Foundation empowers people with cancer and their caregivers by delivering unbiased expert guidance from the world’s leading cancer experts through the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and other patient education resources. The NCCN Foundation is also committed to advancing cancer treatment by funding the nation’s promising young investigators at the forefront of cancer research. For more information about the NCCN Foundation, visit NCCN.org/patients.
About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of 28 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, efficient, and accessible cancer care so patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. By defining and advancing high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers around the world.
The NCCN Member Institutions are: Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, Birmingham, AL; Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.