Researchers named Outstanding Investigators by the National Cancer Institute

Stanford cancer researchers Ronald Levy and Howard Chang have been named Outstanding Investigators by the National Cancer Institute. They were awarded grants of up to $7 million over six years to advance their studies.

Howard Chang

The National Cancer Institute has named professor of dermatology Howard Chang, MD, PhD, and professor of oncology Ronald Levy, MD, as recipients of the institute’s Outstanding Investigator Awards for 2016.

The awards provide funding to investigators with outstanding records of productivity in cancer research. Recipients receive up to $600,000 each year for seven years to pursue or extend research projects of unusual potential. 

“This is a great honor and I am delighted to have this opportunity,” said Chang. “We plan to use this award to investigate how a class of genes called long noncoding RNAs are involved in human cancers. We are particularly interested in how long noncoding RNAs may make each cell within the cancer different from one another — a property that makes cancer difficult to treat —  and also how specific chemical changes alter the meaning of long noncoding RNAs in cancer.”

Ronald Levy

Levy is investigating ways to train the immune system to attack and eradicate cancer cells.

“We are combining the discoveries that stimulate the immune system with new knowledge about the Achilles’ heels of cancer cells,” said Levy, who is the Robert K. and Helen K. Summy Professor in the School of Medicine. “Great strides have been made in these fields and we hope to bring them together to help patients.”

“The NCI Outstanding Investigator Award addresses a problem that many cancer researchers experience: finding a balance between focusing on their science while ensuring that they will have funds to continue their research in the future,” said Dinah Singer, PhD, director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Biology. She added that providing seven years of uninterrupted funding gives investigators the opportunity to fully develop ambitious cancer research programs.

Chang is a core investigator at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford. He is also a member of Stanford’s Child Health Research Institute, Cancer InstituteNeurosciences Institute, ChEM-H and Bio-X. Levy is a member of the Stanford Cancer Institute and Bio-X. 



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