Young Investigators Bring Hope to Bladder Cancer Patients

May 29, 2014
by Monica Smith

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) is pleased to award three Young Investigator Awards to support bladder cancer research.   The award winners, Sunny Guin, PhD, Ryoichi Saito, MD, PhD, and Dmitriy Zamarin, MD, PhD, will each receive a two-year grant totaling $100,000 to support their research efforts.  The recipients were selected by BCAN’s Scientific Review Group from a field of 32 applicants from 27 institutions.

The awards coincide with Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, a national effort led by BCAN to provide public awareness about this deadly disease and recognize the 500,000 people living with bladder cancer in the United States.

First launched in 2013, BCAN’s Young Investigator Awards seek to fund those researchers who may be working in basic, translational, clinical, epidemiologic, bioengineering or any other scientific or research field, but are also working in a research environment capable of supporting transformational bladder cancer research.  Since inception, BCAN has raised over $1 million to support its Young Investigator Awards program.

“We are honored to make this investment in bladder cancer research.  We are hopeful that these young investigators will break new ground and help save lives,” stated Diane Zipursky Quale, President and Co-Founder.  “We are grateful for the generosity of the JPB Foundation and our other donors who make our research efforts possible.”

The BCAN YOUNG INVESTIGATOR AWARD was granted to Sunny Guin, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Colorado at Denver, for his project “The Role, Relationship and Therapeutic Potential of HAS2 and AGL in Bladder Cancer.” Dr. Guin will be investigating a novel signaling pathway and potential drug-able target for bladder cancer tumor formation, aggressiveness, and metastasis.

A JPB FOUNDATION YOUNG INVESTIGATOR AWARD was granted to Ryoichi Saito, MD, PhD, Research Associate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for his project, “Consequences of ARID1A Inactivation in Bladder Cancer.”  Dr. Saito will be expanding the findings from The Cancer Genome Atlas Project in bladder cancer, specifically focusing on a mutated gene in one of the most frequently altered pathways to better characterize its mechanism in tumor development.  He will also be developing a novel mouse model for bladder cancer.

A JPB FOUNDATION YOUNG INVESTIGATOR AWARD was also granted to Dmitriy Zamarin, MD, PhD, Hematology/Oncology Fellow, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, for his project “Defining Immunotherapy Targets in Bladder Cancer Microenvironment Using Oncolytic Viruses.”  Dr. Zamarin is examining using an oncolytic virus to activate the immune system to recognize cancer cells, and combined with other immunotherapies to combat metastatic bladder cancer. Dr. Zamarin will also work on identifying immune resistance mechanisms in bladder cancer.

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