2013: A YEAR OF IMPACT AND INNOVATION
The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation’s 37th year of funding epigenetic science to cure cancer brought new scientific collaborators, exciting joint grants and successful editions of our signature fundraising events.
The SWCRF began the new year with a fresh update to its website – waxmancancer.org – and welcomed distinguished new members to its Board of Directors: David Hinkelman, Managing Director of Fortress Investment Group LLC, Howard Kurz, founder of Lily Pond Capital Management, Matthew Lyons, Chairman and CEO, Blue Slate, LLC, Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka and Robert Kantor as Board President.
Collaborating scientists from the SWCRF’s global Institute Without Walls congregated at the New York Academy of Medicine May 13 to 14 to exchange updates on their research findings at the annual Scientific Review and Symposium.
SWCRF researcher Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., Provost, MD Anderson Cancer Center, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award in Science to Ronald M. Evans, Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Professor and Director of the Gene Expression Laboratory and March of Dimes Chair in Developmental and Molecular Biology at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Wesley Edens, Co-Founder, Principal and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors, Fortress Investment Group, received the Spirit of Collaboration Award for his extensive humanitarian work.
The SWCRF awarded $2 million in grants, welcoming three new researchers to the Institute Without Walls and renewing 22 ongoing collaborative grants. The new individual research grant projects included:
Gregory David, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, NYU School of Medicine, who is investigating epigenetic regulation of inflammation as a therapeutic approach against pancreatic cancer.
Jayanta Debnath, M.D. Associate Professor, Department of Pathology University of California San Francisco, whose research focuses on the effects of autophagy dependent secretion on triple negative breast cancer differentiation and aggression.
Yang Shi, Ph.D. Merton Bernfield Professor of Neonatology, Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, whose project involves identifying epigenetic regulators of differentiation in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Our 31st Annual Golf Tournament took place July 11 at The Creek in Locust Valley, NY. Hosted by Tony and Cynthia Shogren, the outing honored SWCRF Board Member Gary Jacob, Executive Vice President of Glenwood Management Corp., and raised close to $200,000 for cancer research. Co-sponsored by The Max Cure Foundation, the tournament’s sponsors included Titan Advisors, Gary Jacob, The Litwin Foundation, Bank of America, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, M&T Bank, Cynthia and Tony Shogren, Wells Fargo and Ms. Cynthia Neiditch, Counsel Abstract. Edward Kaminsky and Castle Oil supplied golf balls.
The annual Hamptons Happening, a highlight of the Hamptons social calendar, raised close to $400,000 for cancer research on July 27. Held at the Bridgehampton estate of Maria and Kenneth Fishel, the affair drew 400 guests who enjoyed delicious cuisine presented by the event’s honoree, the celebrated chef Todd English and five of his signature restaurants, along with 30 other top-tier chefs and restaurants from the New York and Hamptons area. The event also honored fashion industry icon Ruth Finley, founder and publisher of The Fashion Calendar, and was hosted by CBS 2 News anchor Chris Wragge.
The SWCRF teamed up with The Max Cure Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to funding pediatric cancer research, in a joint $100,000 grant awarded to John Crispino, Ph.D., from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago and Shai Izraeli, M.D., from the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel. The grant will aid in finding treatments for acute megakaryocytic leukemia (AMKL), a rare form of leukemia that has a dismal prognosis.
The SWCRF and The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) created a joint research grant to repurpose a family of malaria drugs to treat leukemia. The SWCRF/NFCR funding will make possible collaborative research by Curt Civin, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Yongkui Jing, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. The award is for $100,000 annually.
The SWCRF teamed up with the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation (TNBCF) to launch a joint grant supporting the research of a collaborative team of scientists from New York City’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami. Each foundation will contribute $50,000 per year for the next three years as part of the joint grant. The research, by Samuel Waxman, M.D., Ming-Ming Zhou, Ph.D., and Eduardo F. Farias, Ph.D., of Mt. Sinai, and Arthur Zelent, Ph.D., of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, focuses on reprogramming nonfunctioning genes in triple negative breast cancer cells to make them more responsive to hormonal therapy and reduce their ability to metastasize.
SWCRF Chief Scientific Officer Jonathan Licht, M.D., and Co-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, Alan Rosmarin, M.D., traveled to Shanghai to attend the Chinese Society of Experimental Hematology meeting and Sino-U.S. Symposium on Medicine on November 16 to 17. Dr. Licht delivered a talk titled Aberrant Histone Methylation in Multiple Myeloma at the Sino-U.S. Symposium, and both doctors were invited speakers at the Experimental Hematology Meeting, which focused on blood cell development, immunology, and malignant hematology. Drs. Licht and Rosmarin also visited sites of SWCRF-supported research at the Shanghai Institute of Hematology, a renowned research facility with which the SWCRF has partnered since 1982, and visited the Beijing Institute of Genomics.
The SWCRF began the holiday season on a high note, raising nearly $3 million at its 16th annual Collaborating for a Cure gala benefit on November 21 in New York City. Featuring a performance by the pop band Train, the fundraiser honored Arthur Imperatore Sr., COO of the New York Waterway, and fashion designer Tadashi Shoji. Hosted by SWCRF’s Chairman Michael Nierenberg and his wife Elin, the event was emceed by CBS 2 News anchor Chris Wragge.