And the winner is… Dr. Tom Yankee, Associate Professor of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, and Immunology at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
His project will advance a novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) for clinical trials in dogs. His research interests focus on applying an understanding of T cell biology to the field of immunotherapy. The novel CAR recognizing GD2-expression which is common in both human and dog osteosarcomas. This provides a unique opportunity to use the knowledge gained in studies from one species to enhance the safety and efficacy of therapies in the other species. In the spirit of Collaborate2Cure, Tom is collaborating with Dr. Sandra Bechtel a veterinary oncologist at the University of Missouri to obtain canine samples and develop future work to address osteosarcoma in children and dogs.
Collaborate2Cure provides a platform for collaboration, allowing scientists in the Kansas City region to share their research and ultimately compete for funding dollars. The program was launched in late September 2016 and occurred weekly – live events were held at the Kauffman Foundation and simultaneously web-streamed via the ZOOM meeting platform to expand participation. KCALSI hosted a networking event after each session. An on line portal was also created for scientists to share ideas, articles, publications and videos from the Collaborate2Cure sessions.
Over 300 scientists, clinicians, entrepreneurs and students gathered over 12 weeks to gain and share knowledge surrounding cancer immunotherapy. This fast-paced, evolving field of scientific research is creating several new methods for diagnosing and treating cancer. The topic was selected for the first scientific series chaired by Dr. Doug Myers from Children’s Mercy. At the conclusion of the cancer immunotherapy series, a request for proposals was released to support collaborative, innovative, research projects spawned from the discussions at a funding level of $50,000 for up to one year.
Scientific collaboration can cultivate more creativity, increase funding and result in higher impact publications. For all these reasons, KCALSI created Collaborate2Cure with the goal of stimulating regional scientific collaboration and developing innovative ways to solve scientific challenges.