METAvivor Announces 2017 Grant Awards for Metastatic Cancer Research

BY METAvivor Board of Directors


METAvivor Research and Support Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for Stage IV metastatic breast cancer (MBC), announces twelve grant awards totaling $1,650,000. These research grants will enhance the understanding of metastatic breast cancer, and help develop greatly needed therapeutic options to combat this complicated disease. Since its founding in 2009, METAvivor has put 100% of donations into its peer-reviewed research grant program.

Metastatic breast cancer (also known as Stage IV or advanced stage cancer) is the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body -- most commonly to the bones, liver, lungs and/or brain. Approximately 30% of breast cancer patients metastasize, and 97 – 98% die as a result, with the average survival after diagnosis being two to three years. In the US, only 2-5% of all cancer research funds are dedicated to Stage IV cancer research – yet 99% of all breast cancer deaths are caused by a metastasis. 

This is the eighth annual grant cycle funded by METAvivor, and this year, METAvivor is awarding grants from two award programs. Our newly established Young Investigator Award program is focused on funding grants for early career metastatic breast cancer researchers, while our standard awards program, now named the Translational Research Award, has changed to increase the amount of funding granted to $200,000 per grant for 2017.

In addition, we are pleased to announce the Kristin Keydel Endowment for Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Award and the Quinn-Davis Northwest Arkansas METSquerade Award. The grants named for donors and generous anonymous donors have helped METAvivor fund more exceptional research in 2017.

Beth Fairchild, President of METAvivor, said, “We are delighted to announce our latest research grant award recipients. Including this year’s grants, METAvivor has awarded a total of 45 grants totaling over $4,000,000 to career metastases researchers for treatments focusing on the already-metastasized patient.”

“We hope that these grants, and the vital research that they fund, will move us closer to fulfilling our mission to transform metastatic breast cancer from a terminal disease into a chronic, manageable condition. We would like to thank our donors, research partners, sponsors and the metastatic breast cancer community for their ongoing support and commitment.”

Below are the METAvivor 2017 grant recipients:


Dr. Katherine Cook, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University: “Dietary considerations effecting lung metastatic therapeutic responsiveness and co-morbidities.”

Dr. Joshua Donaldson, Fellow in Oncology, Johns Hopkins University: “Resistance mechanisms to palbociclib in hormone positive metastatic breast cancer”

Dr. David Soto-Pantoja, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest School of Medicine: “Anti-CD47 Immunotherapy as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer”

The Kristin Keydel Endowment for Metastatic Breast Cancer Research presents: Dr. Gina Sizemore, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, The Ohio State University: “Targeting novel tumor-stroma interactions in breast cancer brain metastases”

Dr. Rebecca Watters, Research Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh: “Discovery of Clinically Actionable Genes in Breast Cancer Bone Metastases”


Dr. Diana Cittelly, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado: “Targeting BDNF/TrkB in brain metastases from young women with TNBC “

Dr. Michael Flister, Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin: “Personalized therapy for curing metastatic breast cancer”

Dr. Melanie Hayden-Gephart, Assistant Professor, Stanford University: “Halting the Progression of Breast Cancer Leptomeningeal Brain Metastases”

The Quinn-Davis Northwest Arkansas Metsquerade presents Dr. Cheryl Jorcyk, Director of Clinical/Translational Research, Boise State University: “High impact therapeutic for the elimination of breast cancer metastasis to bone”

Dr. James McIntyre, Research Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, VUMC Nashville: “A Novel Self-Reporting Paclitaxel Prodrug without Systemic Neurotoxicity: Preclinical Assessment for Targeted Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer “

Dr. Vivek Mittal, Professor, Weill Cornell Medicine: “Targeting epigenetic regulator PRC2 as a therapy for established metastasis”

Dr. Partha Roy, Associate Professor of Bioengineering/ Cell Biology/ Pathology, University of Pittsburgh: “Pharmacological inhibition of myocardin-family proteins as a novel strategy to combat metastatic breast cancer”


METAvivor Research and Support Inc. is an Annapolis-based, 501(c)(3), volunteer-led, non-profit organization founded by metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients in 2009. Our main focus is to fund critical research that will lead to advances in treatment options, quality of life and survival for patients diagnosed with MBC. Since 2009, METAvivor awarded 45 research grants totaling over $4 million. METAvivor is the only national organization with a peer-reviewed grant program aimed at exclusively funding MBC research, and 100% of all donations go to fund research.

METAvivor also raises awareness of MBC, provides support for people living with this disease, and offers opportunities for others to help make a difference for the metastatic community. METAvivor has gained a rapidly growing following within the breast cancer community, and has become a leader in its field.

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