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Research Funding

Purpose of the The Stanley M. Marks Blood Cancer Research Fund

The Stanley M. Marks Blood Cancer Research Fund:

Provides seed money for young investigators as they build their research program for the future as well as for senior investigators to conduct highly innovative or specialized research projects.
Supports recruitment of new leaders.
Provides support to launch unique programs and major initiatives, like early diagnosis of blood cancers.
Promotes the pursuit of continued excellence in patient care, for which Dr. Marks has set the standard.
Christopher Bakkenist, PhD

Christopher Bakkenist, PhD

Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
University of Pittsburgh

David Clump, MD

David Clump, MD

Radiation Oncologist
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Initial funding from the Stanley M. Marks Blood Cancer Research Fund was used for preclinical studies to determine how pharmacologic inhibitors of DNA damage signaling combine with radiation therapy to increase anti-tumor immune responses. We were able to discover key interactions between manipulating DNA damage and subsequent immune response. With this support and this early study, we were able to receive a large federal award to continue exploring the basic principles of this interaction in the laboratory as well as translating these findings clinically into more rationale and potentially advantageous clinical trials exploring the combination and sequencing of radiation and immune therapies.

greg delgoffe

Greg M. Delgoffe, Ph.D

Assistant Professor
Tumor Microenvironment Center
Department of Immunology
University of Pittsburgh

We were honored to receive support from the Stanley M.  Marks Blood Cancer Research Fund earlier this year. My lab at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center studies how to reprogram immune cells to attack cancer cells. While these immune-based therapies have shown success in some patients, most do not respond, or they develop resistance. Through the support of the Marks fund, we are dissecting how to endow therapeutic immune cells with the ability to persist and maintain their anti-cancer function long after a patient is treated.

Rafic Farah, MD

Rafic Farah, MD

Medical oncologist UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

As a medical oncologist who specializes in stem cell transplant for hematologic malignancies including lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma, we are always searching for better methods to treat our patients. The Stanley M. Marks Blood Cancer Research Fund awarded us a grant for our study of immunosuppressive medications following what’s called a haploidentical stem cell transplant. It uses healthy, blood-forming cells from a half-matched donor, typically a family member, to replace the unhealthy ones. We were able to accrue 10 patients into this study and will be analyzing data to determine the outcome.

Our Mission

The Stanley M. Marks Blood Cancer Research Fund continues to make an indelible impact on the overall body of knowledge of cancer treatment, detection and prevention, the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, and the 74,000 patients it serves annually. It does so by supporting highly innovative research at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center aimed at the development of new and more effective therapies for patients with all types of cancers as well as early detection and prevention strategies to reduce the burden of cancer regionally, nationally and globally.