Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation Announces 2018 Myelodysplastic Syndrome Research Fund Grant Recipients

The Dresner Foundation is proud to announce its second annual Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) Research Fund grant recipients. Grants were awarded to H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, the Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Rochester. These grants totaling $1,074,469 support the research of two early career investigators and one established career investigator. The principle goal of the research fund is to support cutting-edge MDS research and related programs that will lead to the future standards of care and ultimately, a cure.

“These grants will support research into how MDS arises, and the development of new, innovative treatment strategies that target genetic abnormalities common in MDS, with a goal of eliminating these debilitating diseases” said Dr. Mikkael A. Sekeres of Cleveland Clinic and Chair, MDS Research Fund Scientific Advisory Board. Virginia Romano, the Foundation’s Executive Director said, “we are pleased to continue to support national, leading-edge MDS research.”

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Center received a grant to support the early career work of Dr. David A. Sallman. Dr. Sallman will be working closely with his mentor Dr. Alan List. The goal of the research project is to (1) establish TP53 gene as a predictor of outcomes for patients with this mutation; and (2) to identify the underlying reasons why TP53 mutant patients frequently have poor responses to treatments.

The second grant was awarded to Dr. Valeria Visconte, Ph.D., through The Cleveland Clinic. She will be conducting her research with her mentor Dr. Jaroslaw P. Maciejewski. The researchers believe that repairing the defective function caused by mutations will be the strategy of the future to treat MDS. The goal of their project is to further improve a novel chemical they have identified as a potential drug and test whether it will be effective as a future therapy for MDS patients with SF3B1 mutations.

The University of Rochester was awarded a grant to support Dr. Michael Becker, an established investigator. New research indicates that the bone marrow microenvironment (BMME), exerts a powerful influence on how normal blood cell formation occurs as well as on how blood cancers develop and progress. Dr. Becker’s research will attempt to confirm the role of the interleukin-1 gene in the BMME as a predictor for development and progression of MDS.

The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation congratulates the grantees and looks forward to seeing important progress in the fight against MDS.