Jenny Twesten

Funding research is an important step in understanding cancer and ways to prevent it. Without the financial support for researchers to develop and test innovative new theories or interventions, how can we move the field forward? That’s where the Prevent Cancer Foundation comes in.

Each year, outstanding young scientists submit their research proposals to our grant and fellowship program. They are then given thoughtful review by our review panel, comprised of leaders in cancer prevention research. The most meritorious proposals are sent to Prevent Cancer’s Board of Directors for discussion and approval, which then provides the approved projects with funding of $40,000 annually over two years.

What sets our funding apart from the rest is our commitment to investing in the future of cancer prevention research. Early-career researchers depend on preliminary data collected through awards like ours to build strong proposals for further funding from institutions like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). One of our past researchers, Dr. Anna Giuliano, was awarded a Prevent Cancer grant for research that laid the foundation for the development of the HPV vaccine.

James L. Mulshine, MD

It is clear that funding young researchers with innovative ideas is a worthwhile cause. James L. Mulshine, MD, Associate Provost for Research and Vice President at Rush University Medical Center, who is also Vice-Chairman and Scientific Director and Co-Chair of the Scientific Review Panel at the Prevent Cancer Foundation, puts it this way: “The funding provided by Prevent Cancer is often the first funding source for many new investigators. This investment ensures that vibrant new approaches to cancer prevention will continue to emerge.”

At this year’s Scientific Review Panel meeting, we caught up with Kent Vrana, Ph.D., Elliot S. Vesell Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine, who is also a longstanding member of the panel. Here are the two main reasons he enjoys serving on the panel:

“The first [reason] is [Prevent Cancer’s] commitment to young people and the development of the next generation of physicians and scientists. That is a very powerful tool that will help us maintain the scientific momentum we have. The second thing is the focus on the prevention of cancer as opposed to treatment. I think it’s a very wise investment of resources to help us understand what causes the disease and preventing it from happening rather than waiting until it’s already full blown and then trying to treat it with drugs.”

As research funding from the NIH becomes more difficult to get, it is now more important than ever to fund early-career researchers. “These talented minds are our hope for a cancer-free future and I am delighted that our grants and fellowships will support them as they continue their life-saving work. It is because of them, and researchers like them, that we have come so far in cancer prevention,” says Carolyn Aldigé, president and founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “And it will be because of them, and researchers like them, that we will continue to make progress toward a cancer-free future.”

Next month, we will introduce our next cohort of early-career researchers. Stay tuned to learn about the exciting research Prevent Cancer will be funding and for updates from our currently funded researchers. Happy holidays!