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Michael F. Price Memorial Grant from DeGregorio Family Foundation Awarded to Disrupt Cancer Stem Cells with Novel Experimental Drugs

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NEW YORK, Feb. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The DeGregorio Family Foundation with support of the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association has awarded $75,000 to Dr. Anthony Capobianco, PhD, Professor at The DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.  The Grant is named in memory of Michael F. Price, the noted value investor and philanthropist, who was an early supporter of the Foundation.  Dr. Capobianco’s research is dedicated to targeting cancer stem cell populations by dual inhibition of the Notch and Wnt pathways in upper GI cancers with novel experimental drugs.  Depending on results, this grant funding could increase.

Despite major advances in targeted therapy there remains an unresolved issue, the primary cause of death from cancer is due to resistance to standard therapy and metastasis. It is widely accepted that these properties of cancer are driven by distinct populations of cells termed cancer stem cells (CSCs).  Through Dr. Capobianco’s research he has identified two cell components  that are critical to the maintenance of these CSCs. His proposed research is to determine the efficacy of dual inhibition of these components – Wnt and Notch developmental signaling pathways – using novel experimental drugs.  It is his hypothesis that inhibiting these pathways will result in disruption of the CSC populations and lead to a more durable anti-tumor effect.  The preclinical studies will lay the foundation for future clinical trials.

Said Dr. Capobianco, “Grants from foundations such as the DeGregorio Foundation are vitally important for our research efforts and really provide the ability for us to do the discovery research to find new cures, without which such studies could not be funded.”

In 2020, gastric and esophageal cancers combined killed over 1.3 million people worldwide. Patients continue to face poor prognoses following gastric and esophageal cancer diagnoses due to their chemo-resistant behavior and ability to metastasize.              

The DeGregorio Family Foundation, founded in 2006 after a 10th member of the DeGregorio family died of stomach cancer, has raised almost $8 million to fund innovative research focused on curing gastroesophageal cancer. “We are honored to support this research into ways to destroy the cancer stem cell population in upper GI with novel experimental drugs,” concluded Lynn DeGregorio, President and Founder.

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Media contact:
Sarah Fletcher

SOURCE DeGregorio Family Foundation

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