These funds will support our upcoming 9th research grant.
Research is a critical piece of our mission. We continually seek our funding from corporations, foundations and individuals, among others. We are now fundraising for our ninth thyroid cancer research grant, and will announce the winner of our eighth grant by June of 2021!
Since 2012, Bite Me Cancer has been dedicated to trying to make a difference in Thyroid Cancer research with the hopes of being able to fund a 2-year grant in partnership with the American Thyroid Association (ATA). ATA’s grant program is for younger/newer researchers to look at new ways to approach Thyroid Cancer. There is a rigorous review process for the research applications, and Bite Me Cancer needed to raise $57,500 to fund one of the grants. By the end of 2013, we did achieve our goal to become an official grant partner of ATA by raising the $57,500! In the spring of 2014, the final selection process was conducted by ATA’s review panel; and Bite Me Cancer chose a research grant. With this grant process, Bite Me Cancer sends in the check for one half of the funds to cover the first year of the research. Then, research progress is reviewed after year one by ATA to determine whether year two will be funded. If approved, Bite Me Cancer pays for the year two research. Bite Me Cancer continues to raise research dollars to fund more research grants.
Since 2014, we have continued to raise funds each year for a research grant. As of 2019, ATA requires $50,000 for a 2-year grant instead of $57,500. You can see our researchers and their work below. We are very grateful that we can talk to them directly and follow their progress.
Seventh Grant – Dr. Cristina Montero-Conde, PhD, Spanish National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), Madrid, Spain. “Discovering novel molecular nodes involved in MTC development and evolution.” This research project has the potential to identify molecular events that confer an outgrowth advantage to the tumor but at the same time a greater dependence on specific oncogenes or molecular networks. Therefore, such alterations could predict enhanced responses to selective molecules, such as the RET-targeted inhibitors Blu-667 (submitted for FDA approval) and LOXO-292 (recently FDA approved. In addition, the results of this proposal will generate the first map of allelic imbalance events in MTC.
In 2009, Cristina joined Dr. James Fagin´s laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center (MSKCC) in New York. Her postdoctoral work focused on the characterization of resistance mechanisms to RAF and MEK kinase inhibitors. Dr. Montero-Conde discovered that resistance determinants vary among cancer types due to preferential self-regulation of specific RTKs, and critically on the autocrine expression or abundance of their respective ligands. The work was published in Cancer Discovery (2013) and prompted an editorial and extensive coverage in other journals. She also received the 2011 Endocrine Society Presidential Poster Award. Dr. Montero-Conde returned to the CNIO in 2014, and obtained a senior postdoctoral research grant from the Spanish Association for Cancer Research (AECC) in 2015. She has been steadily productive and her research currently focuses on the identification and characterization of the molecular hallmarks of medullary and follicular cell-origin thyroid cancer through genomic strategies, with special interest in those with a therapeutic application.
Sixth Grant – Dr. Anthanasios Bikas, Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Dr. Bikas conducted year one of this research at Georgetown University/MedStar Washington Hospital Center. His research grant is titled “Targeting Mitochondrial Cytochrome-C-Oxidase for the Treatment of MTC.” MTC is Medullary Thyroid Cancer. Specific aims of this research are: 1) Determine the role of RET signaling in the regulation of genes controlling mitochondrial respiration in MTC cells. 2) Determine the role of COX4 for development of MTC in vivo and examine the effects of COX4 inhibition on MTC cells growth in animal model. 3) Correlate expression of genes controlling mitochondrial respiration with oncogene mutations in human medullary thyroid cancers. This current grant is a partnership of Bite Me Cancer and the Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association (ThyCa).
Fifth Grant – Dr. Wayne Miles, PhD, Assistant Professor, Molecular Genetics, The Ohio State University Medical Center. The research project is called “Proteomic led discovery of essential genes in Medullary Thyroid Cancer”. The focus is to determine how cancer cells adapt to the loss of the Retinoblastoma 1 (RB) tumor suppressor gene and in particular how these affects change the transcriptome and proteome. MTC is frequently caused by the genomic loss of the CDKN2C gene (and activating RET mutations) which culminates in the constitutive inactivation of the RB protein. Exciting prior results of proteomic profiling of “normal” C-cells and MTC cancer cell lines that discovered new pathways that aberrantly regulated in MTC have inspired the research to further examine actionable difference between C-cells and MTC cancer cells. This current research grant is a partnership of Bite Me Cancer and the Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association (ThyCa).
Fourth Grant – Dr. Yu Qin, Clinical Fellow in Endocrinology at MD Anderson Cancer Center is taking over this research project as of July 1, 2018 for the 2nd year of our grant. Dr. Danysh has left MD Anderson Cancer Center due to a family situation. The research project focuses on extending the lives of patients with an aggressive form of thyroid cancer. Specifically, Dr. Qin will be investigating the mutations of the BRAF gene and the drugs that target said gene, and whether the drugs being used may be causing new gene mutations in the cancerous cells.
Third Grant – Dr. Irene Min of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York received her BS in Biology from Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea and her M.Phil from the Department of Physiology, from Cambridge University in England. She earned a Ph.D in Genetics from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. An experienced basic research scientist with a focus in stem cell biology, genetics and genomics, Dr. Min’s research program will focus on specific immune therapeutics that can loosen the immune suppressive environment to reach a greater level of improvement in thyroid cancer tumor targeting.
Second Grant – Laura Boucai, MD – We are honored that our second grant has been given to Laura Boucai, MD, MS who is a physician-scientist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is focused on endocrine tumors and malignancies. Her specific interest is in thyroid cancer and her goal is to advance the knowledge and treatment options for patients with this condition. Dr. Boucai attended medical school at University of Buenos Aires, in Argentina. She then underwent her Internal Medicine residency training at Cornell University and completed an Endocrinology fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Under the mentorship of Dr. Martin I. Surks, she studied the effects of age, race, and gender on the TSH distribution.
Following her interests in thyroid diseases, she joined the clinical faculty at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she serves as an instrumental member of a multi-disciplinary team of physicians dedicated to understanding the pathogenesis of thyroid cancer and advancing the knowledge of this condition. Dr. Boucai is interested in studying and promoting risk-adapted therapeutic strategies in patients with thyroid cancer with the ultimate goal of developing interventions that reduce harm without changing cancer prognosis.
First Grant – Ramona Dadu, MD – The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. Dr. Ramona Dadu will transition to an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Endocrine Neoplasia & Hormonal Disorders at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center starting July 2014. Dr. Dadu received her MD degree from Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Romania, where she also trained in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology. After graduation from Internal Medicine residency in Connecticut, she joined Baylor College of Medicine/M.D. Anderson Cancer Center endocrinology fellowship program. During this time, she also matriculated into the Clinical Scientist Training Program where she received extensive training in grant writing, conduct of research, and biostatistics.
For the last 2 years of her training, she focused on thyroid cancer research under the mentorship of Dr. Maria E. Cabanillas. She is the author of several peer reviewed publications related to thyroid cancer and received the Women in Endocrinology Young Investigator Award in 2014. She is the recipient of the ATA grant for her research project entitled “Immune markers in medullary thyroid cancer and their clinical significance”. Dr. Dadu has already started collaborations that have enabled her to expand her expertise beyond Endocrinology to Immunology in order to begin to examine the role of immune system in medullary thyroid cancer. Her long term goal is to become an independent investigator and leader in the field of advanced thyroid cancer, with specific focus in immune based therapies.
Hear from Dr. Dadu: