Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, a breast cancer researcher at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School is the recipient of the American Cancer Society’s prestigious Research Professor Award. The award was announced today as part of 89 new Extramural Discovery Science (EDS) research grants totaling $54.3 million. The grants will fund investigators at 65 institutions across the United States starting January 1, 2023.
The ACS Research Professor Award is a highly honorific award given to investigators who have made seminal contributions that have changed the direction of cancer research. The award recognizes their exceptional track records in the areas of research, mentoring and service.
Polyak’s grant accompanying the award is titled “Cancer as a Systemic Disease”. Cancer incidence, including the risk of developing breast cancer, increases with age. Aging is associated with declining immunity, which may contribute to the increased risk of cancer. Polyak’s group found significant differences related to T cells in invasive breast cancer compared with preinvasive breast tumors. Based on these findings, Polyak’s research will investigate the associations between pre-existing immunity and the risk of disease progression and metastasis and the influences of host factors, such as age and obesity, on immune environments and tumor evolution.
"We are proud to announce these new grant awardees and their research projects,” said William Dahut, MD chief scientific officer at the American Cancer Society. “It’s very exciting, as we will fund studies that will increase our understanding of genetics and cancer risk and explore better ways to find, treat, and survive cancer, focusing on equity and optimizing quality of life for cancer survivors.”
The American Cancer Society seeks to improve the lives of patients with cancer, families, and caregivers through research, patient services, and advocacy.