Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation

Seven research grants were funded to study the links between aging and cancer from the Partnership for Aging and Cancer Research Program, a research collaboration between the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF), National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute on Aging (NIA). The Partnership launched in 2018 as a two-year pilot to fund cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary research that will focus on why aging is a leading risk factor for getting cancer.

This partnership model pairs investigators who study cancer with investigators who study aging. An independent panel of scientists, a scientific review group, organized by the NCI reviewed all research proposals and the recommended applications were reviewed by the National Cancer Advisory Board. The NIH then selected the seven grants.

The US Census Bureau estimates that the population of people over 65 will reach 83.7 million in 2050, almost double its size of 43.1 million in 2012. According to the NCI, cancer incidence increases significantly after age 40, and the median age of people diagnosed with cancer in the United States is 65 years. Americans diagnosed with the most prevalent cancer types are, on average, over the age of 50.

“Cancer is a disease of aging, and this Partnership seeks to boost our understanding of why the incidences of cancer increase with age. The collective expertise among these investigators is extraordinary, and they will be invited to join the SWCRF Institute Without Walls, a brain trust of more than 30 scientists who commit to collaborate further. We look forward to the initial findings that result from this important collaboration,” said Samuel Waxman, MD, founder and CEO of the SWCRF.

“There is a clear link between age and the likelihood of cancer, but the reasons and cellular mechanisms for this striking correlation are unknown,” says Tom Misteli, PhD, Director, Center for Cancer Research, NCI. “This partnership is an opportunity to discover these mechanisms.”

“It’s especially interesting that while some biological mechanisms of aging increase the risk of developing cancer, scientists are now finding that others are protective against the disease,” said Richard J. Hodes, MD, director of the NIA. “I am excited about these teams of innovative investigators and their potential to uncover new strategies for cancer prevention and treatment.”

The Partnership for Aging and Cancer Program awarded grants are:

Understanding and Circumventing Aging-Dependent Changes in the Bone Marrow Microenvironment that Promote Leukemogenesis
James V. DeGregori, PhD, University of Colorado, Denver
Ranjan Sen, PhD, National Institute on Aging

Characterizing Age-Associated Epigenetic Alterations and Their Roles in Tumor Development
Hariharan Easwaran, MSc, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
Stephen Baylin, MD, Johns Hopkins University
Rafael de Cabo, PhD, National Institute on Aging

The Role of the Mitochondrial Unfolded Protein Response (UPRmt) in the Etiology of Breast Cancer in Young Versus Elderly Women
Doris Germain, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Rafael de Cabo, PhD, National Institute on Aging

Clonal Hematopoiesis, Aging and Genome Stability in PPM1D Mutants
Margaret Goodell, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine
Andre Nussenzweig, PhD, National Cancer Institute

Determinants of Cd8+ T Cell Aging and Reduced Function in B Cell Cancer
Carl June, MD, University of Pennsylvania
Nan-Ping Weng, MD, PhD, National Institute on Aging

Age Associated Genomic Instability and Brain Tumor Risk
Cristina Montagna, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Thomas Ried, MD, National Cancer Institute

Aging and the Ovarian Tumor Microenvironment
Mary Stack, PhD, University of Notre Dame
Christina Annunziata, MD, PhD, National Cancer Institute
Arya Biragyn, PhD, National Institute on Aging

This Partnership administered by NCI, plans to award up to $3 million by the end of the two-year pilot. Separately, the SWCRF has launched a campaign to raise $20 million to fund more independent but collaborative research in aging and cancer.

About the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF):

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to curing and preventing cancer. The Foundation is a pioneer in cancer research and its mission is to eradicate cancer by funding cutting-edge research that identifies and corrects abnormal gene function that causes cancer and develops minimally toxic treatments for patients. Through the Foundation’s collaborative group of world-class scientists, the Institute Without Walls, investigators share information and tools to speed the pace of cancer research. Since its inception in 1976, the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation has awarded more than $100 million to support the work of more than 200 researchers across the globe.

For more information on SWCRF, visit:

Photo Courtesy Of Lawlor Media GP