UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge hits milestone in search for next breakthrough cancer treatments
Since 2017, the ride/run/walk event has funded 100 innovative, diverse cancer research projects
June 13, 2023
Orange, Calif. — The UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge is proud to announce the funding of a diverse range of innovative cancer research projects at the UCI Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and its pediatric cancer affiliate, Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
Through the unwavering support of dedicated participants, donors and supporters who collectively raised more than $1 million in 2022, the UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge has awarded grants to 28 pilot projects and early phase clinical trials, reaching a remarkable milestone of 100 funded projects since 2017. These projects are poised to revolutionize the future of cancer diagnosis, treatment and cures.
Among the newly funded projects is an early phase clinical trial led by Elizabeth Brém, PhD, from UCI School of Medicine and David Fruman, PhD, from UCI School of Biological Sciences, exploring the potential of adding pitavastatin, a statin medication, to enhance the effectiveness of venetoclax-based therapy for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. This phase II study builds upon Brém’s earlier Track 2 Phase I project funded by the UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge in 2018, which subsequently received a Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program: Impact Award of $1.3 million. The Phase II study marks a significant milestone in advancing the understanding of how statins can improve responses to venetoclax therapy, offering hope for a potential improved treatment for AML patients.
Additionally, various UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge-funded projects include collaborations between the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and other hospitals to harness the collective expertise of multiple institutions to drive innovative research. These projects involve collaborations with CHOC and Children's National Hospital, alongside a notable partnership between Dr. Hyun Don Yun from Veterans Affairs Long Beach and Dr. Kalpna Gupta's lab at UC Irvine.
Furthermore, the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center's designation as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center highlights its commitment to integrate world-class research, prevention and the most advanced diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation programs to provide the best possible care for patients and their families. Dr. Richard Van Etten, director of the UCI Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and founder of the UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge, attests to the remarkable outcomes achieved through the seed funding.
“Since 2017, awardees have leveraged over $3.7 million in UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge grants to secure an additional $33.3 million in extramural funding. This substantial funding has provided researchers with the necessary resources to accelerate their progress, making significant strides in cancer research that will lead to improved therapies, treatments for cancer patients everywhere.”
The 2023 UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge invites the community to participate in the seventh annual event on Saturday, Oct. 7 at UCI Aldrich Park. Whether participating as an individual, forming a team, or contributing as a donor, 100% of the funds raised directly support transformative projects like the ones announced today.
View the complete list of funded projects ›
Learn more about the UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge ›
Organizations interested in event sponsorship opportunities, contact Jennifer Sarrail at Anti-CancerChallenge@uci.edu.
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About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It is located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities, and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. Learn more about the university at www.uci.edu ›