Partnership funds research to assess connection between cancer, aging

The Partnership for Aging and Cancer Research Program awarded seven grants intended to fund research into the link between aging and cancer.

The partnership — a collaboration of NCI, National Institute on Aging and Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation — launched in 2018 as a 2-year pilot to fund cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional research into why older age contributes to cancer risk. Researchers who study cancer are paired with investigators who study aging.

“Cancer is a disease of aging, and this partnership seeks to boost our understanding of why the incidences of cancer increase with age. The collective expertise among these investigators is extraordinary,” Samuel Waxman, MD, founder and CEO of Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, said in a press release. “We look forward to the initial findings that result from this important collaboration.”

The grant recipients and their research topics are as follows:

James V. DeGregori, PhD, of University of Colorado, Denver, and Ranjan Sen, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — Understanding and circumventing aging-dependent changes in the bone marrow microenvironment that promote leukemogenesis;

Hariharan Easwaran, MSc, PhD, and Stephen Baylin, MD, both of Johns Hopkins University, and Rafael de Cabo, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — Characterizing age-associated epigenetic alterations and their roles in tumor development;

Doris Germain, PhD, of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Rafael de Cabo, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — The role of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response in the etiology of breast cancer among young women vs. elderly women;

Margaret Goodell, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine, and Andre Nussenzweig, PhD, of NCI — Clonal hematopoiesis, aging and genome stability in PPM1D mutants;

Carl H. June, MD, of University of Pennsylvania, and Nan-Ping Weng, MD, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — Determinants of CD8-positive T-cell aging and reduced function in B-cell cancer;

Cristina Montagna, PhD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Thomas Ried, MD, of NCI — Age-associated genomic instability and brain tumor risk; and

Mary Stack, PhD, of University of Notre Dame, Christina Annunziata, MD, PhD, of NCI, and Arya Biragyn, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — Aging and the ovarian tumor microenvironment.

“There is a clear link between age and the likelihood of cancer, but the reasons and cellular mechanisms for this striking correlation are unknown,” Tom Misteli, PhD, director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, said in the release. “This partnership is an opportunity to discover these mechanisms.”


The Partnership for Aging and Cancer Research Program awarded seven grants intended to fund research into the link between aging and cancer.

The partnership — a collaboration of NCI, National Institute on Aging and Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation — launched in 2018 as a 2-year pilot to fund cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional research into why older age contributes to cancer risk. Researchers who study cancer are paired with investigators who study aging.

“Cancer is a disease of aging, and this partnership seeks to boost our understanding of why the incidences of cancer increase with age. The collective expertise among these investigators is extraordinary,” Samuel Waxman, MD, founder and CEO of Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, said in a press release. “We look forward to the initial findings that result from this important collaboration.”

The grant recipients and their research topics are as follows:

James V. DeGregori, PhD, of University of Colorado, Denver, and Ranjan Sen, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — Understanding and circumventing aging-dependent changes in the bone marrow microenvironment that promote leukemogenesis;

Hariharan Easwaran, MSc, PhD, and Stephen Baylin, MD, both of Johns Hopkins University, and Rafael de Cabo, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — Characterizing age-associated epigenetic alterations and their roles in tumor development;

Doris Germain, PhD, of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Rafael de Cabo, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — The role of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response in the etiology of breast cancer among young women vs. elderly women;

Margaret Goodell, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine, and Andre Nussenzweig, PhD, of NCI — Clonal hematopoiesis, aging and genome stability in PPM1D mutants;

Carl H. June, MD, of University of Pennsylvania, and Nan-Ping Weng, MD, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — Determinants of CD8-positive T-cell aging and reduced function in B-cell cancer;

Cristina Montagna, PhD, of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Thomas Ried, MD, of NCI — Age-associated genomic instability and brain tumor risk; and

Mary Stack, PhD, of University of Notre Dame, Christina Annunziata, MD, PhD, of NCI, and Arya Biragyn, PhD, of National Institute on Aging — Aging and the ovarian tumor microenvironment.

“There is a clear link between age and the likelihood of cancer, but the reasons and cellular mechanisms for this striking correlation are unknown,” Tom Misteli, PhD, director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, said in the release. “This partnership is an opportunity to discover these mechanisms.”