Wilson awarded Komen breast cancer research grant

An engineering professor has received financial support from Susan G. Komen for breast cancer research.

His project is among 60 grants totaling $26 million awarded to researchers nationwide. Those initiatives are focused on improving outcomes for metastatic breast cancer, reducing disparities in survivorship and developing new, more effective treatments.

John Wilson, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. (John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

John T. Wilson, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and biomedical engineering and a Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigator, will receive $449,616 to support his initiative “STINGing Cancer with Nanoparticles to Enhance Immunotherapy.”

His overall goal is to leverage nanotechnology and molecular engineering approaches to develop new immunotherapeutic modalities for treating metastatic breast cancer.

“Breast cancer does not affect everyone equally and with the grants we’re funding this year, we’re moving closer to new therapies for aggressive forms of cancer, understanding why treatment doesn’t work in some patients and making sure everyone has access to the care they need,” said Paula Schneider, chief executive officer of  Susan G. Komen.

Wilson’s multidisciplinary team is focused on developing and optimizing a new class of nanoparticles for enhancing the activity, utility, therapeutic potency, and safety of small molecule activators of the stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway. They seek to understand how to best combine STING agonists with other types of therapeutics to improve responses to immunotherapy in metastatic breast cancer.

Currently, there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer, which is responsible for almost all the 42,000 deaths from cancer each year in the U.S.

Susan G. Komen has set a goal to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50% by 2026. The nonprofit has  funded more breast cancer research initiatives than any other organization outside the federal government. The new funding brings Komen’s total research investment to more than $1 billion since the organization’s founding in 1982.

Thirty-eight of the 60 grants awarded are focused on better understanding metastasis.

“In order to save more lives, we must address the main cause of cancer deaths: metastatic breast cancer,” said George Sledge, MD, Komen Chief Scientific Advisor, professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Oncology at Stanford University.

Read more>>

Research team documents potential new treatment path for breast cancer  January 13, 2019

Engineering researcher wins Stand Up to Cancer award for ‘smart’ nanoparticles  April 4, 2017

Contact: Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314