UCI Health will see you now: Welcome to our new co-workers and patients from Fountain Valley, Lakewood, Los Alamitos and Placentia-Linda! 

UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge participants fund 15 grants

Research aims to improve life for people with cancer

August 21, 2020

Exposure to ultra-violet rays from the sun, which shines an average of 278 days in Orange County, is thought to be a risk factor for melanoma, a form of skin cancer. At UCI Medical Center, where physicians treat more people for skin cancer as inpatients than any other hospital in Orange County, studies are underway to assess the use of a multiphoton microscopy and a fiber-optic device for earlier diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. Both studies received 2019 UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge research grants to support the research.

The skin cancer studies are two of 15 projects funded by the community through the 2019 event. The  additional grants support translational and clinical studies in colon, stomach, liver, and bladder cancer, the development of new therapeutic agents and devices for cancer, and research on cancer prevention and survivorship. All 15 projects are described in the 2019 Anti-Cancer Challenge Impact Report, available at www.anti-cancerchallenge.org.

“We are grateful to the Anti-Cancer Challenge community for raising $635,000 in 2019 to move this high-risk, high-reward research forward for our determined scientists and physicians — researchers who will stop at nothing to defeat cancer,” said Dr. Richard A. Van Etten, director of the UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate vice chancellor for cancer at UCI. “The funded studies, which have the potential to change how we treat many forms of cancer, might not have progressed without the community support.”

In three years, Anti-Cancer Challenge ride, run and walk participants and donors have contributed $1.5 million to research at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and its pediatric cancer affiliate, CHOC Children’s, advancing 43 original studies, including the most recent awards, to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer. Several of these grants have helped researchers produce critical preliminary data that justifies continued investigation of these innovative concepts, leading to more than $7 million in additional funding from government agencies and private foundations, a testament to the potential of the research to produce important outcomes.

“We are pleased to see a growing number of people embrace the Anti-Cancer Challenge each year, with participants raising more money to advance great ideas,” said Jennifer Sarrail, executive director of the Anti-Cancer Challenge. “We are grateful to generous corporate sponsors who underwrite event costs, so that every participant dollar raised goes directly to innovative research. When everyone unites to make a difference, this is where the end of cancer begins.”

The 2020 Anti-Cancer Challenge, a virtual experience takes place Saturday, Oct. 3, with virtual events leading up to challenge day. Visit www.anti-cancerchallenge.org to register. Organizations interested in event sponsorship opportunities can contact Sarrail at Anti-CancerChallenge@uci.edu.


The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center is at the forefront of discovering new ways to fight cancer. As the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Orange County, the cancer center combines leading-edge research, clinical trials and world-class care for patients. In 2019 alone, more than 6,300 new patients benefited from the advanced treatment provided by the center. 

The Anti-Cancer Challenge is a community of cyclists, runners and walkers — 3,000 strong and growing — who share a commitment to defeating cancer. Their mission is to raise awareness and funds for life-saving research at the cancer center. One-hundred percent of the dollars raised by participants goes to support promising cancer research. For more information, visit www.Anti-CancerChallenge.org

UCI Health comprises the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. The 418-bed acute care hospital provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, and behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter