Johns Hopkins Researchers Receive Millions for New Cancer Research Projects

The Departments of Pathology, Neurosurgery and Gynecology/Obstetrics and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins have received almost $8 million for new research projects to discover cures for a number of fatal cancers, including ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma. The projects are being financed by Break Through Cancer, a cancer research foundation, as part of an effort for researchers across a quintet of cancer research centers.

The other cancer research centers include the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston; Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York; and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

William Nelson, chair of the Break Through Cancer board, stated that funding these new research avenues would allow researchers to discover new management or treatment approaches for a range of fatal cancers. Nelson is also director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

One of the projects to be funded will look into how to obstruct ovarian cancer before it develops. Le-Ming Shih, director of the TeLinde Gynecologic Pathology Lab, explained that most severe high-grade ovarian cancers originated from the fallopian tubes. Findings from a recent study show that the removal of fallopian tubes could significantly reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Scientists will also try developing noninvasive methods of imaging to streamline the harvesting of cancerous lesions in the fallopian tubes.

In addition to this, the funding awarded will be used to develop new ways for targeting and understanding minimal residual disease, which usually leads to the recurrence of cancer. Minimal residual disease isn’t easily detectable using current methods and is managed using maintenance therapies that try to hinder the reappearance of cancer.

This research will be led by Stephanie Gaillard, director of early-phase clinical trials in gynecologic cancer; Elana Fertig, director of quantitative sciences at the Division and Associate Cancer Center; and Christopher Vanden Bussche, codirector of the Convergence Institute.

The funding will also be used to discover why tumor cells develop resistance against KRAS inhibition. KRAS are mutations in a gene that drive the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The researchers’ objective is to develop better treatments that target mutant KRAS forms in pancreatic cancer through clinical trials and preclinical studies.

The researchers who will be involved in this project include associate director of the Quantitative Sciences Division Hao Wang; Elana Fertig; clinical research nurse manager Katrina Purtell; Elizabeth Thompson; Jacquelyn Zimmerman; and the codirector of Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics Nilo Azad.

For-profit companies such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are also conducting their own cancer research, and all these efforts increase the odds that meaningful breakthroughs could soon be made in cancer diagnosis and care.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CNSP

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