BCAN Announces Four Awardees of Its Prestigious 2024 Young Investigator Awards

Outstanding early-career researchers recognized for novel studies to enhance the well-being of bladder cancer patients

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) revealed the four recipients of its coveted Young Investigator Awards, honoring outstanding early-career scientists and clinical cancer researchers dedicated to positively impacting the lives of bladder cancer patients.

Each Young Investigator Award includes a $75,000 grant to support one year of bladder cancer research. Over the years, BCAN has allocated more than $10 million in grants to promising scientists and researchers, highlighting the critical need to advance our understanding of bladder cancer.

The recipients of the 2024 Young Investigator Awards are: Jonathan Anker, Ph.D., M.D., Hematology and Medical Oncology Fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Lucas Blanchard, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate at Rockefeller University; and Aditi Gupta, M.D., Hematology Oncology Fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Anker’s project explores “Characterizing and modulating TREM1 on SPP1 macrophages to overcome resistance to immunotherapy in urothelial cancer.” Dr. Blanchard’s research is titled, “Targeting regulatory T cells (Tregs) to improve antitumor immunity in BCG-unresponsive non-muscle invasive bladder cancer,” and Dr. Gupta’s project focuses on “Identifying biomarkers of response and mechanisms of resistance to Enfortumab Vedotin with and without Pembrolizumab in metastatic urothelial cancer.”

The 2024 Patient-Centered Clinical Research Young Investigator Award is presented to Divya Ajay, MD, MPH, a reconstructive urologist and assistant attending physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Ajay’s project is titled “Enhancing patient-centered care with a decision support tool for choosing urinary diversions for bladder cancer patients undergoing radical cystectomy.”

“We are thrilled to support the innovative ideas and approaches of today’s promising bladder cancer researchers who are dedicated to improving the lives of patients and caregivers,” said Andrea Maddox-Smith, the CEO of the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. “These awards are made possible thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors and we are happy to welcome these four outstanding individuals into the vast cohort of BCAN-funded researchers.”

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network’s (BCAN’s) mission is to increase public awareness about bladder cancer, advance bladder cancer research and provide educational and support services for the bladder cancer community.


Mark Story
Director of Communications and Marketing
301-215-9099, ext. 208