One day morphs into the next at ASH, but I think today is still technically Saturday. Today's highlight actually occurred this evening as we shared the excitement of IMF's annual research grant awards. In these days of reduced NIH funding it is so gratifying to know that our collective IMF donations are channeled to many bright young minds specifically seeking better treatments for myeloma.
Dr. Ken Anderson gave the first award to a brilliant young colleague of his at Dana Farber. He stirred the room with excitement when he explained that she has discovered and is exploring an entirely new approach to myeloma therapy, a new metabolic pathway and a possible new Achilles Heel to target neoplastic plasma cells. I don't know the pathway, but I do know the brilliance of Dr Anderson. Suffice it to say that if he is excited, then we should all be excited too!
Many awards followed, including the IMF's first junior award to a Chinese researcher. Junior awards are vitally important and serve to keep newly minted Ph.Ds from becoming discouraged at finding no funding, and leaving cancer research altogether. The discouragingly small percentage of grant awards compared to the large number of unfunded grant applications is a major concern at the NCI, and will most certainly worsen as fiscal insanity continues in Washington.
Thank goodness for the IMF. The money which we contribute has been supporting myeloma research funding every year since 1994.