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Year 2 Funding

In 2020, a year of uncertainty and change, Paceline hosted PaceDay Unchained - a virtual event to keep our riders, volunteers, and partners safe. The funds from PaceDay Unchained were granted to two research areas at the Georgia Cancer Center. Below are details of how those funds are helping to cure cancer faster.

 

Translational Disparities Research Award, Dr. John Henson

The detection of germline genetic mutations underlying cancer formation is important for two reasons: it can inform optimal treatment for cancer patients and be used to modify cancer risk in family members who carry the variant gene. Accordingly, data suggests that all solid tumor patients should undergo genetic testing; however, numerous barriers exist, particularly within minority populations. We propose a pilot/feasibility study to determine the mutation status of 86 hereditary cancer genes using paired tumor/blood (germline) samples from breast and ovarian cancer patients who undergo surgery at AU Medical Center. While this testing provides direct clinical value to patients, we propose to study whether we can define and overcome minority barriers among Georgia Cancer Center patients.

 

Early Career Researcher Award, Dr. Tianxiang Hu

Preliminary studies in the laboratory of Dr. Tianxiang Hu suggest a previously undiscovered role for a protein called IRAK1 in helping leukemia evade the immune system and thus defy existing treatment strategies. With funding from Paceline, Dr. Hu will explore the molecular mechanisms through which IRAK1 contributes to hiding leukemia cells from immune recognition. Likewise, he will investigate whether this activity of IRAK1 could be blocked to allow the immune system to regain its ability to destroy leukemia cells. It is anticipated that these studies will form the basis of future clinical trials for multiple cancer types, especially those that do not respond to current immune checkpoint inhibitors.