The National Foundation for Cancer Research Announces Expansion of Scientific Advisory Board

BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The National Foundation for Cancer Research
(NFCR) today announced the expansion of its Scientific Advisory Board. The NFCR Scientific Advisory Board
includes Webster Cavenee, PhD, Chair; Frederick W. Alt, PhD; Ruggero De Maria, PhD; Kanaga Sabapathy, PhD;
and Peter Vogt, PhD.


The mission of the NFCR Scientific Advisory Board is to provide scientific, strategic, and clinical guidance and
direction for NFCR basic science and translational research programs. Directed by Webster Cavenee, PhD, the
NFCR Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of leaders in cancer research who have made significant
breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, scientists who are committed to furthering NFCR’s
unwavering commitment to funding research that will cure cancer—all types of cancer.


The National Foundation for Cancer Research is an innovative cancer charity with a deep scientific base and a truly
collaborative approach to cancer research reaching global dimensions. Research takes time and needs unwavering
support. The path from a promising discovery to an effective treatment often takes a decade or more, and the NFCR
Scientific Advisory Board will play a key role in guiding and prioritizing NFCR’s global research program, prioritizing
the connections between basic and clinical research, translating discoveries in the laboratory into health benefits for
patients—giving reason to hope in the progress being made against cancer—new treatments brought into the clinic,
patients saved, and cures delivered.


“Research will cure cancer, and NFCR is about research,” said Sujuan Ba, PhD, NFCR President. “This Scientific
Advisory Board will be about creating an environment that works to liberate science—an architecture for discovery,
and the roadmap to new approaches for treating cancer.” This distinguished group will work closely with NFCR
leadership to explore ways to accelerate the development successful treatments and ultimately a cure.


The appointments to NFCR’s Scientific Advisory Board include:
Webster Cavenvee PhD, Chair, was Director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, San Diego, and
Distinguished Professor at the University of California where his research to understand the biology of glioblastoma
multiforme is illuminating molecular mechanisms that drive the growth, migration, and survival of glioblastoma
multiforme cells and identify potential new therapeutic approaches.


Recognized for his pioneering research in cancer genetics and groundbreaking discoveries that have fundamentally
changed our understanding of tumor initiation and progression, Dr. Cavenee’s research to unravel the inherited
genetic changes that predispose individuals to cancer, his pioneering work in retinoblastoma, provided the first
indisputable genetic evidence for the existence of tumor suppressor genes in humans—confirming the “two-hit”
hypothesis that had been proposed more than a decade earlier. Dr. Cavenee went on to identify other recessive
genetic lesions that predispose individuals to Wilms tumor, osteosarcoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma, and established
the concept of loss of heterozygosity, now known to contribute to multiple cancers, both spontaneous and


Dr. Cavenee’s impact on international cancer research extends far beyond his own scientific achievements. In
addition to his extraordinary research accomplishments, Dr. Cavenee was elected AACR President in 1998-1999
and is an active leader in global efforts against glioblastoma multiforme. Dr. Cavenee was awarded the 2007 Albert
Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research, and was honored with the 8th AACR Margaret Foti Award for
Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research. He is a member of the National Academy of


Frederick W. Alt, PhD is Director of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital,
Charles A. Janeway Professor of Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, and professor of genetics at Harvard
Medical School. Dr. Alt studies the mechanisms that generate immune system antigen receptor diversity and, more
generally, mechanisms that generate and suppress genomic instability in mammalian cells. These two focus areas
often intersect, notably in ongoing work on the mechanisms of chromosomal translocations and deletions that
contribute to lymphoid and other cancers. Dr. Alt’s groundbreaking work in cancer genetics over four decades has
helped to shape the very roots of modern cancer research. His seminal discovery of gene amplification has proved
foundational to the modern understanding of cancer – not only how the disease forms, but also how it can become
resistant to treatment.


Dr. Alt was awarded the 2015 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research, the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award
for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research, and the Arthur Kornberg and Paul Berg Lifetime Achievement
Award in Biomedical Sciences, Stanford University Medical Center. He is a member of the National Academy of


Ruggero De Maria, PhD is Scientific Director of Regina Elena National Cancer Institute (Rome, Italy) where he was
appointed by the Italian Minister of Health to manage the scientific activities between basic, translational and clinical
researchers. His leadership consists in increasing scientific productivity among clinicians and basic scientists.


De Maria’s current research is centered on the molecular characterization of cancer stem cells with the aim of
discovering innovative biomarkers and molecular targets to improve cancer management and develop novel cancer
therapies. Formerly Head of the Department of Hematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine at the
National Institute of Health, Rome (Istituto Superiore di Sanità), his research team was the first to isolate CSCs
from colon and lung cancers and develop innovative CSC-based preclinical models of these tumors. Other
research interests comprise the study of microRNA and the microenvironment in solid tumors. Moreover, he has
published several seminal articles on glioblastoma stem cells.


De Maria was elected President of the Italian ACC Association (Alleanza Contro il Cancro/Alliance in the fight
against Cancer) in 2013; he is currently a member of the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR Innovator Scientific Advisory


Kanaga Sabapathy, PhD, FRCPath is a Professor in the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program at the Duke-NUS
Graduate Medical School, and a joint Professor with the Department of Biochemistry at the National University of
Singapore where he is Head of the Division of Cellular & Molecular Research at the National Cancer Center,
Singapore, and Director of the Academic Clinical Program in Oncology for the SingHealth hospital system.


Dr. Sabapathy’s research is focused on better understanding the molecular mechanism contributing to
carcinogenesis- the process of cancer formation, and the alterations that lead to therapeutic resistance, with the aim
of finding ways to combat cancer and enhance treatment response. He unravelled the mechanisms of a protein
known as p73, its stability and how it leads to cancer. His research also helped the understanding of how mutant
p53, a tumor protein, can promote cancer development and drug resistance.


By investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in cancer development, progression and chemoresistance;
through the study of the p53 and p73 tumor suppressor paradigms, as well as the c-Jun/JNK signaling pathways Dr.
Sabapathy’s research is aimed at both understanding the molecular nature of cancer and its responses to therapy to
unravel how p73 can either suppress or promote tumour growth, and so design effective targeted-therapies against
the disease.


For his research in identifying suitable targets for therapy and designing of better approaches to treating cancer, in
2015 Dr. Sabapathy was selected as a recipient of Singapore’s inaugural National Research Foundation
Investigatorship to pursue groundbreaking, high-risk research. The Investigatorship is recognition of each
researcher’s track record of research achievements and contributions.


Peter Vogt, PhD is the Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer of The Scripps Research Institute in La
Jolla, California. Best known for his seminal research that led to the elucidation of oncogenes, Dr. Vogt’s genetic
studies contributed critically to the identification of the first oncogene src and to the discovery that retroviral
oncogenes are derived from the genome of the cell. His contributions include the identification of additional retroviral
oncogenes that have become important in human cancer such as myc, jun and PI3-kinase. Today PI3-kinase is
considered one of the most promising cancer targets.


Dr. Vogt’s recent research on cancer-specific mutations in p110 has shown that these mutations confer oncogenic
activity, making them highly specific targets. He also continues work on small molecule inhibitors of the Myc protein,
challenging the dogma that Myc is undruggable.


In recognition of his stellar scientific achievements in cancer research, in 2010 Dr. Vogt was awarded the Albert
Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.