Henry Ford + MSU Select Grant Recipients for the 2023 Cancer Seed Funding Program

November 22, 2023

Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences has announced its integration grant recipients for the 2023 Cancer Seed Funding Program. This year’s program funded four cancer research grants of up to $75,000 each. These four grants follow the funding of 20 pilot grants of $25,000 each in July 2023.

“The core of this funding program is collaboration,” said Ben Movsas, M.D., Henry Ford + MSU cancer committee chair, Henry Ford Cancer medical director and radiation oncology chair. “It is the partnership’s goal to collaborate and create new paths for novel cancer research, and this year’s grant recipients are moving us one step closer to reaching that goal.”

Each research grant has a principal investigator from Henry Ford Health and MSU.

“The focus has been on innovation for this year’s funding program", Jeff MacKeigan Ph.D., Henry Ford + MSU cancer committee member and MSU College of Human Medicine assistant dean for research. "These research initiatives funded through our partnership with Henry Ford bring together the best of both institutions, each with unique strengths. Projects tackle cancer spread or metastasis, novel therapeutic strategies, and mechanistic insights into better understanding the immune system in cancer.”

The four Integration grants selected for 2023 are:

  • Interrogating the Phenotype and Function of γδ T Cells in Pancreatic Cancer Liver Metastasis
    • Goal: To determine the phenotype and functional role of γδT cells in metastatic pancreatic cancer that has colonized the liver.
    • Principal Investigators: Bin Chen, Ph.D. (MSU) and Nina Steele, Ph.D. (Henry Ford Health)
  • Targeting miR-10b to Induce PTEN Expression: A Novel Therapeutic Strategy for PTEN-deficient GBM
    • Goal: To investigate novel therapeutic strategy for glioblastoma (GBM) in animal models of patient derived tumors.
    • Principal Investigators: Ming Chen, Ph.D. (MSU) and Ana deCarvalho, Ph.D. (Henry Ford Health)
  • Developing Novel Cancer Immunotherapy by Inhibiting MARCHF8 and Autophagy
    • Goal: To develop next-generation immunotherapy that blocks the MARCHF8-autophagy axis to restore cancer antigen presentation, making cancer cells recognized and killed by T cells.
    • Principal Investigators: Dohun Pyeon, Ph.D. (MSU) and Qing-Sheng Mi, M.D., Ph.D. (Henry Ford Health)
  • Precision Control of Drug Release using MPI-based Monitoring to Improve Brain Metastases Treatment
    • Goal: To develop and test a novel platform to monitor and control levels of drug concentrations in tumors within a defined therapeutic window. The goal is to provide physicians a tool to accurately track drug doses anywhere in the body to enable real-time adjustments of drug doses to balance maximum efficacy with minimal side effects in the precision medicine paradigm.
    • Principal Investigators: Bryan Smith, Ph.D. (MSU) and Tavarekere Nagaraj, Ph.D. (Henry Ford Health)

The product of a landmark, 30-year partnership introduced in January 2021, Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences is focused on setting a new standard for how individuals and communities experience care across the state of Michigan and the nation. The partners are addressing vital pillars of health outcomes: research, education and care. As partners, Henry Ford Health and Michigan State University are creating a unified research community and investing in emerging cancer research and care; working to fight the health disparities that plague our most vulnerable communities in rural and urban settings; and preparing the next generation of physicians and nurses.

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