Our scientists remain undaunted in their important cancer research, despite the challenges and precautionary measures required to safely work in their laboratories this year. In case you missed them, here are just a few of the exciting discoveries made by Damon Runyon researchers in 2020:

Cancer cells in brain and spinal fluid monopolize iron to survive

When cancer cells move to the fluid and tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord, the result is devastating. Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Adrienne A. Boire, MD, PhD, discovered how these rogue cells are able to survive in the cerebral spinal fluid, pointing to a possible strategy for treatment.

Earlier detection of lung cancer

Lung cancer is often not detected in its earlier stages and, as a result, is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. In response, Damon Runyon Fellow Aaron L. Moye, PhD, developed a platform to study early-stage lung cancer and to identify potential new treatments

 Study sheds light on risk of treatment-related blood cancers

Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovator Elli Papaemmanuil, PhD, may have found the answer to a troubling question—why do some patients develop a secondary blood cancer after treatment for their initial cancer diagnosis?

 Virus-mimicking drug helps immune system target cancer

Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Anusha Kalbasi, MD, found a drug that activates the body’s natural defenses by behaving like a virus and may uncloak certain stealthy melanoma tumors, so they can be better targeted by immunotherapy.

How pancreatic cancer cells escape immunotherapy

Damon Runyon-Nadia’s Gift Foundation Innovator Rushika M. Perera, PhD, discovered that pancreatic cancer cells can appropriate a cellular waste removal process to elude the immune system.

This post was originally published on December 31, 2020 by Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. It is republished with permission.