Challenge Grant Awards

Challenge Grant Award

Challenge grants in scientific research revolve around posing a grand scientific question to the research community and asking researchers to submit their best ideas for meeting the challenge with creative solutions. With help from our Scientific Advisory Board, the Rivkin Center will identify areas in ovarian cancer research in which the greatest strides can be made today and offer a Challenge Grant to the research group that proposes the best solution.

The 2-year, $150,000 Challenge Grant award was conferred for the first time in 2011 due to the generosity of the Smith Family Foundation.

Andre Lieber, MD/PhD

University of Washington

2016 Lester and Bernice Smith Challenge Grant Award: Immuno-prophylaxis of ovarian cancer associated with high-risk germline mutations

“Rivkin funding allowed us to prove our hypothesis that in vivo HSC gene therapy with checkpoint inhibitors can be used to reverse tumor growth in a tolerogenic mouse tumor model. Furthermore, it has enabled us to further optimize our in vivo HSC transduction approach and its application for gene therapy of other diseases, including hemoglobinopathies and hemophilia A. In this context, we demonstrated phenotypic correction of thalassemia in mice, which has attracted the attention of the Gates Foundation. This, in turn, resulted in an award to test the safety and efficacy of in vivo HSC gene therapy in monkeys. The data to be collected from this study will be an important milestone towards the clinical translation of our new approach for immuno-prophylaxis of ovarian cancer with high-risk germ line mutations. It will also facilitate raising funds for a first-in-human clinical trial (with an estimated budget of $5-6M).”

Challenge Grant Awardees