Team Jack Grants Awarded

Jan 14, 2021 | News

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Atkinson, Nebraska – Team Jack recently awarded their grants for the December 2020 – December 2021 cycle in support of the Power5 Childhood Brain Tumor Initiative at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. These investigators are working tirelessly to accelerate the research to find more innovative and gentler treatments for childhood brain cancer patients, and ultimately a cure.  Each project is reviewed by the Team Jack Foundation Board of Directors as well as the Power5 Scientific Review Board which includes three physicians from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic and Lurie Children’s Hospital.  The Team Jack Foundation is proud to fund the following investigators’ work including an exciting collaboration, the first of its kind, between UNMC and Creighton University Medical Center.

Dr. Sidharth Mahapatra

The first grant is the first of its kind education grant for medical student David Doss, Ph.D., into Creighton University’s selective MD, Ph.D. program. Dr. Doss will be mentored by principal investigator Dr. Sidharth Mahapatra, working on Medulloblastoma research at UNMC. He will be the first medical student in Nebraska to receive support for his education from three different sources: Creighton University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the Team Jack Foundation. The Team Jack Foundation will provide funding for his lab-based expenses. The total project grant award is for three years and in the amount of $150,000.  This project will fall under the Power5’s education category which has $500,000 total allocated.

Dr. Sutapa Ray

Sutapa Ray, Ph.D. of the University of Nebraska Medical Center will be the principal investigator on the second grant awarded. Dr. Ray is researching targeting cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) in Medulloblastoma tumors. Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. She is studying diverse cellular and molecular pathways that drive MB tumor progression and recurrence with hopes to improve better therapeutic and clinical outcomes in children. By studying this specific protein’s role in transforming cells into tumor cells, following the tumor development and disease progression, they anticipate being able to provide targeted therapies for MB improving outcomes and quality of life in pediatric patients. The total project grant award is for two years and in the amount of $100,000 under the Power5’s research category.

Dr. Donald Ronning

The third grant was awarded to Donald Ronning, Ph.D. Ronning will be assessing the anti-cancer activity of MP1, the natural product-derived compound, to develop targeted therapies for Medulloblastoma (MB) and Neuroblastoma (NB). Dr. Ronning stated in his application that he believes there is a pressing need to develop novel targeted therapies with limited toxicities in these high-risk patients. Dr. Ronning’s research will study therapy options, particularly for those patients that have the worst prognosis. MP1 has shown potent anti-cancer activity with minimal toxicity in previous research, and his research will continue to test this effort. The total project grant award is for one year and in the amount of $100,000 under the Power5’s research category.

Congratulations to these grant recipients!  To date, the Team Jack Foundation has funded six projects under the Power5 program for the total amount of $750,800 dedicated to brain cancer research, pain management in cancer as well as education. Additional Power5 grant applications are currently still in the review process.

To learn more about Team Jack Foundation funded research, click here.