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An overview of Imagine A Cure for Leukemia Research Grants

2016- $100,000 Dr. Lynn Wang- CLL- The drug Ibrutinib, was recently granted a 'breakthrough" designation by the US Food and Drug Administration. This allowed for fast-track approval. However, some patients have demonstrated resistance, and this project represents an approach to overcome it.

2015- $120,000 Dr. Javier Pinilla-lbarz- CLL- A continuation of the 2014 project.

2014- $50,000 Dr. Javier Pinilla-lbarz- CLL- This project sought to improve the effectiveness of the drug Ibrutinib by combining it with an immune boosting agent. 

$50,000 Dr. Kendra Sweet- CML-Dr. Sweet studied a method to make the drug Sprycel more effective by combining it with a signal inhibitor'. This could potentially prevent CML cells from bypassing the therapeutic benefits of Sprycel.

2013- $100,000 Dr. John Byrd- CLL- Dr. Byrd, who worked on the development/validation of the drug  Ibrutinib, sought to understand the biological signalling that enables certain CLL cells to survive. He identified specific molecules for study.

$100,000 Dr. Neil Shaw- CML- This project was geared to developing a test to predict which patients would be resistant to each of the three main drugs used for treatment, i.e., Gleevec, Sprycel and Tasigna. This learning, would then be used to guide development of new more effective therapies.

2012- $75,000 Dr Carl June- CLL- A continuation of the 2011 project.

$75,000 Dr. Jeffery Molldrem- CML-Healthy immune systems fight infections by recognizing infected cells as defective and attacking  them.  In CML patients, the cancer cells aren't recognized as toxic. This project was geared to developing a vaccine to treat CML by stimulating the immune system's T-cells to respond.

2011- $135,000 Dr. Carl June CLL- Rather than treat CLL with chemotherapy and other drugs, Dr. June pioneered a radical new approach in which he withdraws a patient's own T-cells, 'engineers' them in a lab ro recognize leukemia cells as toxic, and then re-injects them to create a powerful fighting force made up of the  body's own immune system. This promising approach has since been aggressively pursued for other types of cancer as well.

2010- $57,500 Dr. John Byrd- CLL-This project studied how a specific group of proteins is activated to inhibit leukemia cell survival. Biological agents delivering that effect were tested and further refined.

$57,500 Dr. Brian Druker- CML- Dr. Druker was the scientist who developed the drug Gleevec to treat CML. It has since become a leading treatment to control the disease. But with time, patients can relapse. In this project, Dr. Druker studied ways in which certain chemicals in the blood 'signal' CML cells to forego the normal cell death cycle and instead proliferate. His goal was to find ways of interrupting those signals.

2009- $46,500 Dr. John Byrd- CLL-A continuation of the 2008 project.

$46,500 Dr. Brian Druker- CML-A continuation of the 2008 project.

2008- $57,500 Dr. John Byrd- CLL-A continuation of the 2007 project.

$57,500 Dr. Brian Druker- CML-A continuation of the 2007 project.

2007 $56,000 Dr. John Byrd- CLL-This project used a drug that in animal studies was able to both kill CLL cells and also trigger the immune system to find and destroy remaining cells. Goal was to determine its safety/effectiveness  with people.

$56,000 Dr. Brian Druker- CML-In this initiative, Dr. Druker conducted clinical trials using a certain drug that he believed might overcome patient resistance to Gleevec.

2006-$40,000 Dr Brice Weinberg- CLL- Dr. Weinberg discovered that CLL cells produce nitric oxide that keeps them from dying in the normal way. However, if production is blocked with special drugs, the cells die. This initiative was  to determine if there's a therapeutic opportunity based on this learning.

$40,000 Dr. Yun Zhao- CML-Scientists have known for a while which gene becomes defective in CML patients leading to uncontrolled growth. Dr. Zhao studied the progression of the disease at the genetic level in order to identify opportunities for new therapeutic agents.






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