University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

$26 Million 'Grand Challenge' Project Will Probe Role of Inflammation in Cancer

Award from Cancer Research UK Will Help International Team Determine Basis of One in Four Cancer Deaths

By Jason Alvarez | UCSF.edu | January 23, 2019

$26 Million 'Grand Challenge' Project Will Probe Role of Inflammation in Cancer

Thea Tlsty, PhD, winner of the "Grand Challenge" competition, will receive $26 million to lead her international team to uncover how chronic inflammation causes cancer.

“The Grand Challenge is designed to address really big, intractable questions in cancer. The idea is not to make small, incremental steps, but to make a huge leap forward.”
Thea Tlsty, PhD

Related news:

Q & A with Thea Tlsty, PhD, on Leading International Team to Study Inflammation and Cancer

UC San Francisco Professor Thea Tlsty, PhD, is a winner of the “Grand Challenge” competition sponsored by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), an ambitious international funding initiative that aims to answer some of the biggest open questions in cancer. Tlsty’s international team will receive £20 Million (US $26 million) to uncover how chronic inflammation causes cancer.

“The Grand Challenge is designed to address really big, intractable questions in cancer,” said Tlsty, Professor of Pathology and former director of the Program in Cell Cycling and Signaling at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The idea is not to make small, incremental steps, but to make a huge leap forward”

CRUK launched the Grand Challenge in 2015 to bring together scientists from around the world and from different disciplines to find solutions to cancer’s toughest challenges. Phase 1 of the program ended in 2017, with four winning teams selected from a pool of 57 applicants. Phase 2 proved even more competitive, with three winning teams selected from 134 entries.

“I’m not aware of any funding opportunities anywhere in the world that can begin to integrate this many international cancer experts on projects of such clear importance,” said Edward Harlow, PhD, member of the Grand Challenge Advisory Panel and the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research and Teaching at Harvard Medical School. “These teams have been brought together to tackle many of the biggest challenges we currently face in cancer research. We can see from the progress already achieved how powerful it is to support collaborations of this scale.”

Chronic Inflammation Drives a Quarter of All Cancers

Tlsty will lead a team that includes scientists, clinicians and patient advocates from the U.S., Canada, Israel and the U.K. Their efforts will focus on understanding how chronic inflammation drives some of the most aggressive forms of cancer. 

Read more at UCSF.edu