SAKK/RTFCCR/Gateway Research Grant Awards USD 1,500,000 for Cancer Researchers in Switzerland and Spain


Five researchers were awarded with the SAKK/RTFCCR/Gateway Research Grant endowed with a total of USD 1,500,000 at the semi-annual meeting of the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK). The grant will support the scientists to address five critical challenges and advance clinical cancer research for novel treatment options.

The 2015 SAKK/RTFCCR/Gateway Research Grant has been awarded to five different research projects addressing pivotal challenges in clinical cancer research today. This joint research grant is being awarded for the third year by the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK), Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research (RTFCCR) and the U.S.-based non-profit organization, Gateway for Cancer Research (Gateway). Founded in 2011, this strategic partnership seeks to accelerate innovative and relevant oncology research that may lead to more potent, less toxic and potentially life-saving treatment options for cancer patients.

Eveline Mumenthaler, Director of RTFCCR, presented the grant awards to the winners during the semi-annual meeting of SAKK in Zurich. This included Dr. Sacha Rothschild, MD, Basel University Hospital, PD Dr. Nicholas Mach, MD, Geneva University Hospital, Prof. Adrian Ochsenbein, MD, Inselspital Bern, Monica Ruggeri of the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) Coordinating Center in Bern and Dr. Jordi Rodón, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, Spain.

“Cancer remains a worldwide health problem. With over 100 different known cancers that affect humans, factors such as an aging population together with the evolution of lifestyle continue to make cancer a major societal challenge. While new discoveries have brought about innovative diagnostic approaches and effective therapies, a continuous strong financial support is required to advance novel and evidence-based research. This is why we are enthusiastic about the prospects of our third-year of grant partnership with SAKK and Gateway, which increased from 450’000 USD for one project to USD 1,500,000 for five projects,” said Eveline Mumenthaler.

Beat Thürlimann, President of the SAKK, is especially delighted that the grant endowment has been increased to mark the SAKK’s 50th anniversary in 2015 and that research in a number of categories is eligible for support: “The aim of the grant is to support five academic research projects. This is entirely in keeping with the SAKK’s mission. As an academic research institute, we have been committed for the past 50 years to finding the best possible cancer therapy for patients in Switzerland.”

Scientists applying for the research grant were able to submit their projects in five categories: increasing the efficacy of cancer diagnostics and therapeutics through targeted and personalized medicine; development of approaches for metastatic disease; overcoming drug resistance; improving quality of life; and use of repurposed drugs. All submissions were reviewed in a two-stage process by an international committee comprising scientific experts from SAKK, RTFCCR and Gateway. The final decision was reached in October 2015.

In previous years, two research grants endowed with 450’000 USD each, were awarded to Prof. Dr. Christoph Driessen, Cantonal Hospital St.Gallen, in 2013 for his phase II, multicenter clinical trial for myeloma and Prof. Dr. Radek Skoda, University Hospital Basel, in 2014 for his clinical study focused on creating a novel treatment option for bone marrow cancer patients without therapy alternatives. 

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