HERA Announces 2014 OSB Grant Recipients

May 21, 2014

HERA Foundation Announces 2014 “Outside the Box” Grant Recipients

Grants Fund Research Into New and Promising Ovarian Cancer Detection, Treatments and Therapy

DENVER – May 20, 2014The HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation, a nationally recognized ovarian cancer nonprofit, awarded its 2014 OSB (Outside the Box) Grants to three researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine. HERA awarded Lingling Xian, MD, Phd, Blanca Valle, MD, PhD, and Christian Schuetz, PhD, a total of $50,000 in grant funding to pursue “outside-the-box” ideas and study new directions in the detection and treatment of ovarian cancer, which ranks fifth as the cause of cancer deaths in women and accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

“Through our OSB grants, we aim to support up-and-coming talent with innovative, ‘outside-the-box’ ideas for the detection and treatment of ovarian cancer,” said Meg Steitz, HERA’s executive director. “Currently, there is no effective test to diagnose ovarian cancer early when chances of survival are greatest, and today’s treatments have not significantly improved survival. Our goal is to nurture new ideas and talent, so we can change this and uncover more effective solutions for tomorrow.”

The 2014 OSB Grant recipients and their work includes:

  • Dr. Lingling Xian, a research associate in the department of hematology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, will study personalized therapies that target cancer stem cells for patients with ovarian cancer;
  • Dr. Blanca Valle, who is working in one of the leading laboratories in the field of epigenetics and translational research, will work to develop biomarkers for the early detection of ovarian cancer; and,
  • Dr. Christian Schuetz, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of pathology, Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, will continue research into promoting a long lasting anti-­ovarian cancer immune response in which the body’s own immune cells will recognize and destroy the patient’s tumor.

“Ovarian cancer affects more than 22,000 women each year and takes the lives of more than 14,000,” said Steitz. “To change these outcomes, we must support new ideas, approaches and thinking. Our 2014 OSB Grant recipients are doing work that can make a difference and HERA is proud to help make that happen.”

HERA’s OSB Grants support and help develop new ideas early, so scientists can build the foundation to apply for larger grants and eventually take their ideas into practice. The grants also aim to retain promising young scientists in the field of ovarian cancer. Oftentimes, young investigators must publish and secure grants to stay at an institution, so they are more likely to pick disease indications that gain significant funding, like breast, colon and prostate. Through its research grants, HERA works to retain researchers for the ovarian cancer field to cultivate new ideas and produce tomorrow’s detection and treatment breakthroughs.

Since 2002, HERA has raised and awarded more than $875,000 for research grants for the early detection, prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer to scientists at well-respected medical institutions including Johns Hopkins University, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Colorado, among others. For more detailed information about the grant recipients, their research and the OSB Grant application process, visit:  http://www.herafoundation.org/grants-research/science-grants/application-process/.

About the HERA Foundation:

Established in 2002, the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to stop the loss of women from ovarian cancer by promoting Health, Empowerment, Research, and Awareness. As a nationally recognized ovarian cancer organization, HERA provides funding for cutting-edge research grants to scientists at respected medical institutions. In so doing, HERA attracts more researchers to expand the scientific understanding of ovarian cancer while improving the lives of those battling the disease. In addition, HERA awards grants to local community groups to raise awareness about the disease in novel and unusual ways. More information is available at www.herafoundation.org.

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