Today I got to do one of my favorite tasks: call grantees to let them know they have been awarded funds for their research. For the second consecutive year, the MPN Research Foundation and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have collaborated to review and award research projects proposing new ideas of how to stop or reverse fibrosis. Winners of these one year concept grants focusing on fibrosis and myelofibrosis are:
- John Varga and Jonathan Licht (Northwestern University)
- Golam Mohi (State University of New York)
- Emmanuele Passegue (University of California at San Francisco )
- Xiaoli Wang (Mt. Sinai School of Medicine)
As in the first round of MF Challenge grants, each researcher will receive $100,000 over one year to test his/her hypothesis for these grants, the goal of which is to provide a proof of concept for ideas on how to stop or reverse fibrosis. The grant review was conducted by a multi-disciplinary group overseen by the MPN Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board Chair Dr. Andrew Schafer from Weil Cornell.
The first round of MF Challenge concept grants were funded in July 2012. Progress on these four projects will be reviewed in late 2013. Projects with potential to go further will be candidates for longer term funding. A “concept grant” is used to identify innovative and novel approaches to an issue.
Fibrosis is the formation of excessive fibrous connective tissue in place of healthy tissue. The disease myelofibrosis (one of the myeloproliferative neoplasms) is characterized by fibrosis in the bone marrow. Prognosis for sufferers of myelofibrosis varies. A small proportion of MF patients can transform to acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of blood and bone marrow cancer that progresses rapidly.
The potential of the MF Challenge is its ability to stimulate research in areas that are currently untested in fibrosis and myelofibrosis, offering hope to patients struggling with a relative lack of treatment options and understanding about their disease. More information about the MF Challenge can be found at www.mfchallenge.org.
I am so proud of the work we’ve done and the progress we’ve made in MPN science. But there is still a long way to go. After the grants are completed it’s up to us and the MPN community to decide how to turn these projects into life saving and improving medicine for patients. I look forward to sharing the progress of these and our other projects with the patient community very soon.
Barbara Van Husen President, MPN Research Foundation