The Mark Foundation partners with Cancer Research UK in new round of cutting-edge Grand Challenge projects

Cancer Research UK welcomes a transformational gift to part-fund one of three brand new Grand Challenge projects

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research has announced it will partner with Cancer Research UK to support its Grand Challenge initiative, an international philanthropic opportunity to fund collaborative, groundbreaking science. The multi-million-pound gift from the New York-based philanthropic foundation is its largest to date. It will help to fund the vision of Professor Stephen Elledge’s Grand Challenge team, SPECIFICANCER, a world-class collection of cell biologists, geneticists and computational experts from the US, the UK and the Netherlands. Their aim is to reveal the molecular mechanisms that underpin why genetic mutations cause cancer in certain organs in the body but not in others. They hope to then exploit these discoveries to develop new ways to treat cancer.

Michele Cleary PhD, Chief Executive of The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research said:

“The ambition of Grand Challenge to answer the most urgent questions, and its scale of funding and impressive advisory panel – unrivalled in its expertise – offered our young foundation an ideal opportunity to tap into a rigorous selection process and funding model that perfectly aligns with our goal to fund complex and ambitious science. The initiative provides outstanding teams with the resources they need to collaborate effectively across scientific disciplines to achieve maximum impact.

“Among the overwhelming talent we saw in the submissions, we were most intrigued by Team SPECIFICANCER’s proposal. The team has identified the gaps in our understanding of the tissue-specific effects of certain cancer driver mutations, and we were fascinated by their clear and thoughtfully framed approach to addressing this puzzle. The strong collegial dynamic among team members, coupled with Professor Elledge’s expert leadership, gave us confidence that the project will be successful. We look forward to achieving great things through our partnership with Cancer Research UK.”

The project is one of three new Grand Challenge projects announced in round two of this unique global initiative to answer the most urgent questions in cancer research by convening the best scientific minds from around the world.  

Professor Stephen Elledge said:

“Understanding the fundamental basis of tissue specificity in cancer is central to generating the most systematic approach to selecting therapies. Through Grand Challenge, Cancer Research UK and The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research have provided us with the resources to assemble the right team to unravel this riddle and ensure we are best matching cancer types to the therapies that are most likely to benefit the patient.”