Stand Up To Cancer - Research Areas
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Research Areas

Research  >  Research Areas

Stand Up To Cancer research spans a range of approaches and treatments. From cancer prevention and interception to epigenetics and immunotherapy, SU2C’s multifaceted research teams and investigations are focused on the most innovative approaches to bring more effective therapies to patients quickly, to increase survivorship and to improve quality of life for cancer patients and survivors.

As SU2C revolutionizes cancer research, the investigations it supports have the potential to transform the treatment of cancers in both adults and children.

RESEARCH AREAS

IMMUNOLOGY

Immunology uses the power of the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer. Since inception, SU2C has focused on developing new immunotherapies to treat cancer, and has been an early supporter of combination approaches to immunotherapy. Our investigators are hard at work to understand how to make immunotherapy effective for more people and how to mitigate side effects from the treatment. Learn more about Immunology.

Immunology research teams funded by SU2C
  • SU2C Meg Vosburg T-Cell Lymphoma Dream Team: Tailoring CAR-based Immunotherapy Strategies to T Cell Lymphoma
    Leader: Helen Heslop, MD
    Co-leader: Gianpietro Dotti, MD
  • St. Baldrick’s Foundation-SU2C Pediatric Cancer Dream Team: Immunogenomics to Create New Therapies for High-Risk Childhood Cancers
    Leader: John M. Maris, MD
    Co-leader: Crystal L. Mackall, MD
  • SU2C-LUNGevity Foundation-American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercept Lung Cancer Through Immune, Imaging, & Molecular Evaluation (InTIME)
    Leader: Avrum Spira, MD
    Co-leader: Steven M. Dubinett, MD
  • SU2C-American Cancer Society Lung Cancer Dream Team: Targeting KRAS Mutant Lung Cancers
    Leader: Alice T. Shaw, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Jedd Wolchok, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD
  • SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team: Transforming Pancreatic Research to Treatable Disease
    Leader: Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD
    Co-leader: Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
  • SU2C-St. Baldrick’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Dream Team: Immunogenomics to Create New Therapies for High-Risk Childhood Cancers
    Leader: John M. Maris, MD
    Co-leader: Crystal L. Mackall, MD
  • SU2C-Cancer Research Institute Cancer Immunology Dream Team: Immunologic Checkpoint Blockade and Adoptive Cell Transfer in Cancer Therapy
    Leader: James P. Allison, PhD
    Co-leader: Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Drew M. Pardoll, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Cassian Yee, MD
  • Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Immunotherapy Targeting Mutant KRAS
    Leader: Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
    Co-leader: Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Beatriz Carreno, PhD
    Co-leader: Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD
  • Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Immunotherapy Targeting Mutant KRAS
    Leader: Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
    Co-leader: Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Beatriz Carreno, PhD
    Co-leader: Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD
  • Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Adoptive Transfer of TGF-β Resistant TIL to Defeat Immunosuppressive PDAC
    Leader: Patrick Hwu, MD
    Co-leader: Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Chantale Bernatchez, PhD
    Co-leader: Cliona M. Rooney, PhD
  • SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation CAR T Research Team: Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell (CAR T) Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
    Leader: Carl H. June, MD
    Co-leader: Shelley L. Berger, PhD
    Co-leader: John Wherry, PhD
  • SU2C–Farrah Fawcett Foundation Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Research Team: Therapeutic CD8 Vaccines Against Conserved E7 HPV Epitopes Identified by MS
    Leader: Ellis L. Reinherz, MD
    Co-leader: Robert I. Haddad, MD
  • SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Research Team: Computational Deconstruction of Neoantigen-TCR Degeneracy for Cancer Immunotherapy
    Leader: Benjamin Greenbaum, PhD
    Co-leader: Vinod Balachandran, MD
  • SU2C Single-Cell Multi-omics Convergence Research Team: Single-Cell Functional Multi-omics to Characterize and Monitor CAR T Therapy
    Leader: Rong Fan, PhD
  • SU2C Natural Killer Cells Convergence Research Team: Integrating Experimental and Computational Pipelines to Develop Biomarkers of Tumor Cell Resistance to NK Cells
    Leader: Constantine Mitsiades, MD, PhD
  • SU2C Endometrial Cancers Convergence Research Team: Responders and Nonresponders to Endometrial Cancers With Mismatch Repair Deficiencies
    Leader: Alessandro Santin, MD
  • SU2C Endometrial Cancers Convergence Research Team: Responders and Nonresponders to Endometrial Cancers With Mismatch Repair Deficiencies
    Leader: Alessandro Santin, MD
  • SU2C Machine Learning for Immunotherapy Convergence Research Team: Machine Learning for Cancer Immunotherapy
    Co-leader: Ernest Fraenkel, PhD
    Co-leader: Regina Barzilay, PhD
  • SU2C Machine Learning for Immunotherapy Convergence Research Team: Machine Learning for Cancer Immunotherapy
    Co-leader: Ernest Fraenkel, PhD
    Co-leader: Regina Barzilay, PhD
  • SU2C Gynecologic Cancers Convergence Research Team: Connecting Immune Health and Tumor Biology in Gynecologic Cancers
    Leader: John Wherry, PhD
  • SU2C Cancer Susceptibility Convergence Research Team: Correlating Immunological Health to Cancer Susceptibility
    Leader: Mark Davis, PhD
  • SU2C–Breast Cancer Research Foundation Breast Cancer Convergence Research Team: Ecology of the Tumor Microenvironment in Breast Cancer
    Leader: Peter P. Lee, MD
  • SU2C–National Science Foundation–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Research Team: Liberating T-Cell Mediated Immunity to Pancreatic Cancer
    Co-leader: Peter O’Dwyer, MD
    Co-leader: Jeffrey Drebin, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD
  • SU2C–National Science Foundation Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team: Genetic, Epigenetic, and Immunological Underpinnings of Cancer Evolution Through Treatment
    Leader: Ross L. Levine, MD

DNA DAMAGE RESPONSE

The DNA in every one of our cells gets damaged over and over each day. Our cells have multiple systems to fix that damage, but in some cancers one of these systems is broken and has to rely on a “back up” system to survive. Investigators are looking at ways to cut off these alternate DNA damage repair mechanisms to cripple already compromised cancer cells.

DNA research teams funded by SU2C
  • SU2C Canada–Canadian Cancer Society Breast Cancer Dream Team: Translational Development of Novel Drugs Targeting Tumor Vulnerabilities
    Leader: Tak W. Mak, PhD
    Co-leader: Samuel Aparicio, PhD
  • SU2C–Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance–National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Ovarian Cancer Dream Team: DNA Repair Therapies for Ovarian Cancer
    Leader: Alan D. D’Andrea, MD
    Co-leader: Elizabeth M. Swisher, MD
  • Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Exploiting DNA Repair Gene Mutations in Pancreatic Cancer
    Leader: Alan D. D’Andrea, MD
    Co-leader: James M. Cleary, MD, PhD
  • Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Exploiting DNA Repair Gene Mutations in Pancreatic Cancer
    Leader: Alan D. D’Andrea, MD
    Co-leader: James M. Cleary, MD, PhD

EPIGENETICS

Sometimes it’s not what is in our DNA that counts, but how the DNA is used. Epigenetics is the study of how genes are turned on and off in ways that promote or inhibit the development of cancer. Learn more about Epigenetics.

Epigenetics research teams funded by SU2C
  • SU2C–Cancer Research UK–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team: Reprogramming of Transcriptional Circuitry to Control Pancreatic Cancer
    Leader: Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD, FACP
    Co-leader: Gerard I. Evan, PhD
    Co-leader: Ronald M. Evans, PhD
  • SU2C Canada Stem Cell Dream Team: Targeting Brain Tumour Stem Cell Epigenetic and Molecular Networks
    Leader: Peter Dirks, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Samuel Weiss, PhD
  • Van Andel Research Institute–SU2C Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team: The Epigenetics Dream Team II
    Co-leader: Peter A. Jones, PhD, DSc
    Co-leader: Stephen B. Baylin, MD
  • SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team: Bringing Epigenetic Therapy to the Forefront of Cancer Management
    Leader: Stephen B. Baylin, MD
    Co-leader: Peter A. Jones, DSc, PhD
  • SU2C–National Science Foundation Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team: Genetic, Epigenetic, and Immunological Underpinnings of Cancer Evolution Through Treatment
    Leader: Ross L. Levine, MD

TUMOR MODELS, IMAGING & INFORMATICS

New approaches to cancer research are taking advantage of advances in technology, including new laboratory methods, better scanning/imaging equipment and the incorporation of artificial intelligence to analyze complex data sets.

Tumor Models, Imaging & Informatics teams funded by SU2C
  • SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercepting Pancreatic Cancer in High-Risk Cohorts
    Leader: Anirban Maitra, MBBS
    Co-leader: Michael G. Goggins, MD
    Co-leader: Scott M. Lippman, MD
  • SU2C–LUNGevity Foundation–American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercept Lung Cancer Through Immune, Imaging, and Molecular Evaluation (InTIME)
    Leader: Avrum Spira, MD
    Co-leader: Steven M. Dubinett, MD
  • SU2C Canada–Canadian Cancer Society Breast Cancer Dream Team: Translational Development of Novel Drugs Targeting Tumor Vulnerabilities
    Leader: Tak W. Mak, PhD
    Co-leader: Samuel Aparicio, PhD
  • SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team: Molecular Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer
    Leader: Gerrit A. Meijer, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Victor E. Velculescu, MD, PhD
  • SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team: Transforming Pancreatic Research to Treatable Disease
    Leader: Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD
    Co-leader: Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil
  • SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society Tumor Organoids Dream Team: A New Preclinical Model for Drug Sensitivity Analysis
    Leader: Hans Clevers, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Johannes Bos, PhD
  • SU2C–Prostate Cancer Foundation Prostate Dream Team: Targeting Adaptive Pathways in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
    Leader: Eric J. Small, MD
    Co-leader: Owen Witte, MD
  • SU2C−Prostate Cancer Foundation Prostate Dream Team: Precision Therapy of Advanced Prostate Cancer
    Leader: Arul M. Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Charles L. Sawyers, MD
  • SU2C–Melanoma Research Alliance Melanoma Dream Team: Personalized Medicine for Patients with BRAF Wild-Type (BRAFwt) Cancer
    Leader: Jeffrey M. Trent, PhD
    Co-leader: Patricia LoRusso, DO
  • SU2C Pancreatic Dream Team: Cutting Off the Fuel Supply: A New Approach in the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer
    Leader: Craig B. Thompson, MD
    Leader: Jeffrey A. Drebin, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Daniel D. Von Hoff, MD
  • SU2C Circulating Tumor Cell Dream Team: Bioengineering and Clinical Applications of Circulating Tumor Cell Chip
    Leader: Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Mehmet Toner, PhD
  • SU2C PI3K Dream Team: Targeting the PI3K Pathway in Women’s Cancers
    Leader: Lewis C. Cantley, PhD
    Co-leader: Gordon B. Mills, MD, PhD
  • SU2C Breast Cancer Dream Team: An Integrated Approach to Targeting Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes and Their Resistance Phenotypes
    Leader: Dennis J. Slamon, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Joe W. Gray, PhD
  • Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Targeting Stem Cell Signals in Pancreatic Cancer
    Leader: Tannishtha Reya, PhD
    Co-leader: Andrew Lowy, MD
    Co-leader: Margaret Tempero, MD
  • SU2C−Dutch Cancer Society Translational Research Team: Prospective Use of DNA-Guided Personalized Cancer Treatment
    Leader: Emile E. Voest, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: René Bernards, PhD
  • SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Research Team: Computational Deconstruction of Neoantigen-TCR Degeneracy for Cancer Immunotherapy
    Leader: Benjamin Greenbaum, PhD
    Co-leader: Vinod Balachandran, MD
  • SU2C Single-Cell Multi-omics Convergence Research Team: Single-Cell Functional Multi-omics to Characterize and Monitor CAR T Therapy
    Leader: Rong Fan, PhD
  • SU2C Natural Killer Cells Convergence Research Team: Integrating Experimental and Computational Pipelines to Develop Biomarkers of Tumor Cell Resistance to NK Cells
    Leader: Constantine Mitsiades, MD, PhD
  • SU2C Endometrial Cancers Convergence Research Team: Responders and Nonresponders to Endometrial Cancers With Mismatch Repair Deficiencies
    Leader: Alessandro Santin, MD
  • SU2C Machine Learning for Immunotherapy Convergence Research Team: Machine Learning for Cancer Immunotherapy
    Co-leader: Ernest Fraenkel, PhD
    Co-leader: Regina Barzilay, PhD
  • SU2C Gynecologic Cancers Convergence Research Team: Connecting Immune Health and Tumor Biology in Gynecologic Cancers
    Leader: John Wherry, PhD
  • SU2C Cancer Susceptibility Convergence Research Team: Correlating Immunological Health to Cancer Susceptibility
    Leader: Mark Davis, PhD
  • SU2C–Breast Cancer Research Foundation Breast Cancer Convergence Research Team: Ecology of the Tumor Microenvironment in Breast Cancer
    Leader: Peter P. Lee, MD
  • SU2C–National Science Foundation Drug Combinations Convergence Research Team: Rational Design of Anticancer Drug Combinations with Dynamic Multi-Dimensional Input
    Leader: Anthony Letai, MD, PhD

PEDIATRIC CANCER

SU2C focuses innovative research efforts on pediatric cancer, using groundbreaking methods such as immunotherapy and immunogenomics – looking at how tumor cells and immune cells react to each other and evolve over time – to develop new therapies for high-risk childhood cancers. SU2C-supported research contributed to two FDA approvals to treat certain blood cancers in children, including the CAR T-cell therapy, and a new approved use for a drug which mitigates the potentially severe or even life-threatening side effects of this treatment in some of the children. SU2C researchers also created a new tool that can predict which patients are likely to experience serious side effects so that their care team can be ready to react as soon as those effects might appear.

Pediatric cancer research teams funded by SU2C
  • St. Baldrick’s Foundation–SU2C Pediatric Cancer Dream Team: Immunogenomics to Create New Therapies for High-Risk Childhood Cancers
    Leader: John M. Maris, MD
    Co-leader: Crystal L. Mackall, MD
  • Coupled Genetic and Functional Dissection of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
    Team Leader: Catherine J. Wu, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Developing New Therapeutic Strategies for Soft-tissue Sarcoma
    Team Leader: Amy J. Wagers, PhD, Joslin Diabetes Center
  • Identification and Targeting of Novel Rearrangements in High-Risk ALL
    Team Leader: Charles G. Mullighan, MD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Immunogenomics to Create New Therapies for High-Risk Childhood Cancers
    Team Leader: John M. Maris, MD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
    Co-leader: Crystal L. Mackall, MD, Stanford University
  • Modeling Ewing Tumor Initiation in Human Neural Crest Stem Cells
    Team Leader: Elizabeth R. Lawler, MD, PhD, University of Michigan
  • Modulating Transcription Factor Abnormalities in Pediatric Cancer
    Team Leader: Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Rescuing T Cell Function for Immunotherapy of Pediatric Malignancies
    Team Leader: David M. Barrett, MD, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • T cell Immunotherapy for Core Binding Factor Acute Myeloid Leukemia
    Team Leader: Marie Bleakley, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Targeted Inhibition of BCL6 for Leukemia Stem Cell Eradication
    Team Leader: Markus Müschen, MD, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Targeting Epigenetic Plasticity and Drug Resistance in Pediatric Cancer
    Team Leader: Adolfo Ferrando, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Kimberly Stegmaier, MD
  • Targeting Genetic and Metabolic Networks in T-ALL
    Team Leader: Adolfo A. Ferrando, MD, PhD, Columbia University
  • Targeting MLL in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
    Team Leader: Yali Dou, PhD, Univeresity of Michigan
  • Therapeutically Targeting the Epigenome in Aggressive Pediatric Cancers
    Team Leader: Charles M. Roberts, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

INTERCEPTION

Interception is the idea of finding and attacking cancer at its earliest stages when it is easiest to treat. Most treatments are designed for fully developed tumors, so new approaches to diagnosis and treatment are needed to attack young, emerging cancer cells.
Learn more about Interception.

Interception research teams funded by SU2C
  • SU2C Multiple Myeloma Dream Team: Screening and Interception of Precursor Myeloma
    Leader: Irene M. Ghobrial, MD
    Co-leader: Ivan M. Borrello, MD
  • SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercepting Pancreatic Cancer in High-Risk Cohorts
    Leader: Anirban Maitra, MBBS
    Co-leader: Michael G. Goggins, MD
    Co-leader: Scott M. Lippman, MD
  • SU2C–LUNGevity Foundation–American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team: Intercept Lung Cancer Through Immune, Imaging, and Molecular Evaluation (InTIME)
    Leader: Avrum Spira, MD
    Co-leader: Steven M. Dubinett, MD
  • SU2C–Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance–National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Ovarian Cancer Dream Team: DNA Repair Therapies for Ovarian Cancer
    Leader: Alan D. D’Andrea, MD
    Co-leader: Elizabeth M. Swisher, MD
  • SU2C–Dutch Cancer Society Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Dream Team: Molecular Early Detection of Colorectal Cancer
    Leader: Gerrit A. Meijer, MD, PhD
    Co-leader: Victor E. Velculescu, MD, PhD
  • Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Computational Approaches To Identifying High-Risk Pancreatic Cancer Populations – Identification of Genomic and Immune Factors in High-Risk Populations for Pancreatic Cancer
    Leader: Raul Rabadan, PhD, MSc
    Co-leader: Núria Malats, MD, MPH, PhD
  • Pancreatic Cancer Collective Research Team: Computational Approaches To Identifying High-Risk Pancreatic Cancer Populations – Identifying Individuals at High Risk of Pancreatic Cancer through Machine Learning Analysis of Clinical Records and Images
    Leader: Chris Sander, PhD
    Co-leader: Regina Barzilay, PhD
  • SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation For Pancreatic Research Interception Research Team: Developing Novel Approaches to Treat and Evaluate Early Pancreatic Cancer
    Leader: David P. Ryan, MD
    Co-leader: Alec C. Kimmelman, MD, PhD
  • SU2C–LUNGevity–American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Research Team: Blood-Based Early Interception of Lung Cancer
    Leader: Lecia V. Sequist, MD
    Co-leader: Maximilian Diehn, MD, PhD

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

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Stand Up To Cancer strongly encourages novel, collaborative, and high-impact proposals. Proposals submitted in response to Calls for Ideas (CFIs) or Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are rigorously reviewed, and the most promising, exciting projects are selected by panels of expert investigators.

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SU2C’s diverse research teams host clinical trials to achieve their goal of bringing treatments to patients at an accelerated pace. More than 180 clinical trials have been planned, started or completed by SU2C-supported researchers. Learn more about clinical trials and how to participate.

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