Dr. Yael Mossé and her team of global experts selected as finalists for the next Cancer Grand Challenges Awards

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Yael Mossé An interdisciplinary, global team of scientists led by Yael Mossé, MD, Professor of Pediatrics in the Cancer Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), has been selected for the final stages of Cancer Grand Challenges. Their team, named KOODAC, is one of 12 teams in the running for a chance to receive up to $25 million to make radical progress against one of cancer’s toughest challenges.

In March 2023, Cancer Grand Challenges announced nine new challenges, with 178 world-class global teams submitting bold ideas to take them on. Team KOODAC proposed tackling the challenge of solid tumors in children, drawing together a unique set of expertise and unites researchers from the United States, Austria, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The team will now receive seed funding to draft their full research proposal and compete for up to $25 million in funding. If successful, team KOODAC aims to develop drugs that break down or ‘degrade’ five of the most significant cancer-driving proteins in children with high-risk oncogene-driven cancers, including neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma, Ewing sarcoma, fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and other cancers that deregulate these essential oncoproteins.

“I am humbled and incredibly energized to be one step closer to leading a team with outstanding and broad expertise, who together will develop drugs that we intend to become the new standard of care for children with solid malignancies,” said Mossé.

Additional CHOP co-investigators who are part of Team KOODAC include John Maris, MD, and Adam Wolpaw, MD, PhD.

An honorable mention: CHOP’s Nikolaos Sgourakis, PhD, is a co-investigator on a separate team in the final running taking on a completely different challenge involving T-cell receptors and immunotherapies.

Funded teams will be announced in March 2024. Learn more at https://cancergrandchallenges.org.

Contributed by: Jennifer Lee

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