Mindy and Jon GrayMindy and Jon Gray

The University of Pennsylvania’s Basser Research Center for BRCA has announced the Basser External Research Grant Program, a unique funding program for high impact translational cancer research projects aimed at advancing the care of people living with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center, home to the Basser Center, will serve as steward of the $5 million grant to four research teams that demonstrate the potential for translation into clinical practice.

The grant program is made possible by an additional $5 million donation from University of Pennsylvania alumni Mindy, C’92, and Jon Gray, C’92, W’92, bringing their total giving to Penn to $30 million following their $25 million gift that established the Basser Center in 2012.

“This generous award by the Grays will help expand the mission of the Basser Center by allowing us to support innovative researchers outside of Penn and widen the circle of those who are working to find new ways to prevent and treat cancers associated with BRCA mutations,” said Dr. Susan Domchek, Executive Director of the Basser Research Center and the Basser Professor of Oncology at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. “There are many research teams doing exceptional work in BRCA1/2 research who are finding it difficult to compete for the shrinking pool of federal and foundation funding for biomedical research, and this program provides a new avenue to accelerate progress across the field.”

Research grant applications are being accepted for projects in basic science, prevention, early detection or targeted therapeutics relevant to the study of BRCA1/2.

“As the nation’s only center solely devoted to research into the prevention and treatment of BRCA-related cancers, the Basser Research Center for BRCA is uniquely positioned to help fund team science and original ideas,” said Dr. Chi Van Dang, director of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. “With these grants, we hope to support interdisciplinary, multi-institutional teams that take cutting-edge, creative research with the greatest potential to change clinical approaches to individuals predisposed to cancer resulting from BRCA mutations.”

The Basser Research Center was established in memory of Mindy Gray’s sister Faith Basser, who died of ovarian cancer at age 44.

For more information on the Basser External Research Grant Program, see the original Almanac article.