NCCN Foundation Announces Fifth 2017 Young Investigator Award

NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards provide funding over a two-year period for research initiatives focused on assessing and improving outcomes in cancer care.

Liqin Zhu, PhD

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA – August 7, 2017] The NCCN Foundation® has granted its fifth Young Investigator Award for the 2017 cycle to Liqin Zhu, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Health Science Center, for the study titled, “Patient-Derived Tumor Spheroids for High-Risk Hepatoblastoma Drug Discovery.” Dr. Zhu joins four additional awardees named earlier this year, representing the seventh series of NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards—a program initiated in 2011. The grants provide researchers at National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Member Institutions with funding over a two-year period to each awardee.

“NCCN Foundation is happy to provide funding to Dr. Zhu for study of this rare childhood liver cancer. Identification of biological characteristics of high-risk hepatoblastoma indeed has the potential to aid in discovery of new treatment interventions for this understudied disease,” said Marcie R. Reeder, MPH, Executive Director, NCCN Foundation. “We congratulate Dr. Zhu on her nomination and award and look forward to her contributions to the Young Investigator Award program.”

Following is the full list of 2017 awardees:

  • Kemi Doll, MD, MSCR, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, “Racial Disparities in Endometrial Cancer”
  • Saad Kenderian, MB, CHB, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, “Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Mechanisms of Resistance and Strategies to Enhance Efficacy”
  • Florian Muller, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, “ENO1-Deletion as a Target for Personalized Oncology: Collateral Lethality to the Clinic”
  • Elizabeth Stewart, MD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Health Science Center, “Preclinical Match”
  • Liqin Zhu, PhD, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/University of Tennessee Health Science Center, “Patient-Derived Tumor Spheroids for High-Risk Hepatoblastoma Drug Discovery”

The awardees responded to a Request for Proposals issued by the NCCN Foundation to the NCCN Member Institutions and were nominated by their institutions. All submissions were reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel of oncology experts; the awardees were selected based on several key components, including scientific merit and study design.  The studies will be managed and overseen by the NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP).

The 2017 awardees will have the opportunity to present their findings during a future NCCN Annual Conference General Poster Session and their abstracts will be featured in JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Since its inception in 2011, NCCN Foundation has provided funding to 36 U.S. researchers through the Young Investigator Awards. On March 23 and 24, 2017, NCCN featured abstracts from the fifth series of Young Investigator Awards recipients during the NCCN 22nd Annual Conference General Poster Session in Orlando, Florida.

The 2017 NCCN Foundation Young Investigator Awards were made possible through support from AbbVie Inc., Amgen Inc., Genentech, Merck & Co. Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Takeda Oncology, and Pfizer Inc.

For more information about the NCCN Young Investigator Awards, visit NCCNFoundation.org.

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About NCCN Foundation
NCCN Foundation® was founded by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network®(NCCN®) to empower people with cancer and advance oncology innovation. NCCN Foundation supports people with cancer and their caregivers at every step of their treatment journey by delivering unbiased expert guidance from the world’s leading cancer experts through the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and other patient education resources. NCCN Foundation is also committed to advancing cancer treatment by funding the nation’s promising young investigators at the forefront of cancer research, initiating momentum in their careers and furthering the betterment of patients through their groundbreaking innovations. For more information about NCCN Foundation, visit http://www.nccnfoundation.org.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers.

The NCCN Member Institutions are: Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Clinicians, visit NCCN.org. Patients and caregivers, visit NCCN.org/patients. Media, visit NCCN.org/news.