Meet the 2017 MPN Challenge Grant Winners

July 26, 2017

The MPN Research Foundation is proud to announce the five winners of its 2017 Challenge Grant program. This is a combined effort with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The projects selected were vetted by a review committee of MPN scientists including MPNRF's Scientific Advisory Board. They reflect the priorities of the Foundation to respond to the areas of unmet need in MPN science as well as to shed light on what is driving PV, ET and MF in hopes of uncovering better treatments and eventually a cure for all. 

The winners each will receive $100,000 per year for two years, with the second year of funding dependent on sufficient progress. The winners for 2017 are: 

Angela G. Fleischman, MD, PhD, University of California, Irvine

Project Title:  Inflammation as a Driver of Clonal Expansion in Myeloproliferative Neoplasm

The goal of this project is to determine how JAK2 mutated cells react to inflammation in comparison to normal blood producing cells. If inflammation plays a role to accelerate progression of MPN, this study would help define possible pathways to suppressing this inflammation. 

James D. Griffin (M.D.), Martin Sattler (Ph.D.), Sara J. Buhrlage (Ph.D.), Ellen L. Weisberg (Ph.D.), Dana‐Farber Cancer Institute

Project Title:  Inhibition of deubiquitinating enzymes as a novel targeted therapy for JAK2-dependent myeloid malignancies

The goal of this project is to find a strategy to specifically target the JAK2-V617F mutation while leaving the wild type JAK2 mutation alone. The existing JAK2 inhibitors don’t differentiate between the wild type JAK2 and the mutation which is correlated with diagnosis of MPN.

Vivian G. Oehler, MD, Marie Bleakley, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center  

Project Title:  Characterizing myeloproliferative neoplasm neoantigens and T cell responses for therapeutic applications 

The goal of this project will be to further our understanding of the potential of immunotherapy as an option for MPN.

Stephen Oh, M.D., PhD, Washington University in St. Louis

Project Title:  Leveraging NFKB Pathway Dysregulation for Therapeutic Benefit in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

The goal of this project is to test the therapeutic potential of pevonedistat, which has been shown in a preliminary study in mice to reduce white blood cell counts and target the NFkB pathway which can become hyperactivated in MF and AML.

Rebekka K. Schneider, MD & Rafael Kramann, MD, Department of Hematology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, The Netherlands & Department of Nephrology, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Project Title:  Functional and molecular dissection of the fibrotic transformation and clonal selection in myeloproliferative neoplasms

Using CRISPRCas9 gene editing techniques, the goal of this project is to determine whether the S100A8/S100A9 molecule contributes to the growth of bone marrow fibrosis and loss of normal blood production. If confirmed, this presents a possible therapeutic target for drug development.

To see a complete list of grants funded by the MPN Research Foundation click here: http://www.mpnresearchfoundation.org/Research-Funded

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