BCAN’s Bladder Cancer Research Innovation Award supports exceptionally novel and creative projects with great potential to produce breakthroughs in the management of bladder cancer. The 2020 awardee is Jeffrey Ravetch, MD, Ph.D., Professor, and Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunotherapy at Rockefeller University. Dr. Ravetch’s proposal is “Intravesical delivery of FC-enhanced CD40 against antibody for the treatment of bladder cancer.”
Dr. Ravetch’s project approach focuses on the mechanisms by which antibodies, proteins naturally produced in response to infection, function in people. Recombinant antibodies (those made in the lab for treatment purposes) targeting the immune system have significantly improved survival in patients with cancer, including bladder cancer. Given the success of antibodies generated to block “brakes” on the immune system, Dr. Ravetch’s lab has described an alternative strategy to help “step on the gas pedal” of immune cells by targeting a protein called CD40.
Dr. Ravetch is recognized as a world expert in the biology of antibodies and antibody-based therapeutics for cancer and infectious disease. His achievements have been recognized by numerous research awards, including a 2017 Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine, a 2015 Wolf Prize in Medicine, a 2012 Canada Gairdner International Award, and a 2007 Coley Award from the Cancer Research Institute.
“BCAN is pleased to fund Dr. Ravetch’s project. With this award, we enable bladder cancer research that is high-risk and has the potential for high reward for new discoveries in bladder cancer research,” said Andrea Maddox Smith, CEO of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. “These critical projects are not likely to be funded elsewhere and speak to the continuing need for innovation and creative approaches in bladder cancer research.”