Funding the Next Discovery
2013 Reception

January 30th 2013
6:00 - 9:00 PM

Microsoft New England
Research and Development Center

One Memorial Drive Cambridge, MA



Funding the Next Discovery 2013 Program Schedule

6:00 – 7:15 PM Networking Reception

We are pleased to be joined by 16 postdocs, from the local area, who will be sharing their research during the reception.  

7:15 – 8:15 PM Guest Speakers

Dr. Brian Zid, Harvard University, Funding the Next Discovery Recipient

Howard Hughes Institute, Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology & Chemical Biology Northwest Labs, Mechanisms of Translation Regulation Under Nutrient Starvation

Introduction by Christoph Westphal, CEO of Verastem

Dr. Robert Weinberg, Founding Member of Whitehead Institute                                                                                                                                          

Robert A. Weinberg is a pioneer in cancer research most widely known for his discoveries of the first human oncogene—a gene that causes normal cells to form tumors—and the first tumor suppressor gene.  Weinberg, who received his PhD in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969, has held research positions at the Weizmann Institute and the Salk Institute. In 1982, Weinberg helped found Whitehead Institute, joined the faculty as a professor of biology at MIT, and published his landmark paper "Mechanism of Activation of a Human Oncogene" in the journal Nature. In 1999, another major paper, "Creation of Human Tumor Cells with Defined Genetic Elements," was also published in Nature.

8:15 – 9:00 PM Networking Reception

What is Funding the Next Discovery?

Funding the Next Discovery is a unique opportunity to help fund research and meet the dedicated scientists who bring Oncology breakthroughs from the bench top to the bedside, and to help fund the next discovery.


  • Raise funds to support researchers at the beginning of their careers

  • Provide a visible partnership between non-profit, life science and academia

  • Demonstrate the need for additional cancer research funding

  • Fund at least one researcher through this event

The Need 

The drop in federal funding and the challenging economy has substantially reduced the percentage of approved grants the American Cancer Society is able to fund from upwards of 20% to 9-11% in the last few years – for NCI the number is 7%. 

The Impact

Each $150,000 raised supports a worthy post-doc researcher for a period of three years.  While many large pharmaceutical companies have individually participated in the Challenge by funding their own researcher, the Funding the Next Discovery event  is intended to provide a forum for smaller companies, service providers and individuals to also make a contribution.

In 2008, Shannon Stott, Ph.D. at Mass General’s Circulating Tumor Cell Center, after having been turned down for a funding even though her proposal was rated exceptional, finally won a three-year $142,000 grant through the American Cancer Society from funds raised through a program like Funding the Next Discovery. The proposal was to develop a methodology for performing liquid biopsies and DNA analyses that could allow personalized diagnosis and monitoring of cancer patients.

Five years later this investment in this young researcher’s career has helped develop a computer chip and assay machinery to measure the presence and density of CTCs in a blood sample that may lead to determining does the patient have cancer; what type of cancer and at what stage; what treatment is most likely to work (through genetic analysis), and are those treatments working.

The vision for the future is that doctors will be able to test for CTCs during an office visit. This has revolutionary potential for cancer patients. The team’s multidisciplinary work seeded by the ACS grant has now won $60 million in grants for pilot testing in four cancer centers across the country. The pilot tests will help refine the diagnostic and monitoring technologies and help bring this technology to patients.

Generous New England donors like you made it possible for the ACS to support Shannon’s early work, which will have profound impact on the future of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Who should attend this event?

  • Research professionals
  • Senior company management
  • Service providers
  • Employees and guests of companies and institutions sponsoring the event
  • Individuals who feel passionate about being part of funding the next discovery in cancer research

Please visit our sponsors page for more information about the impact and benefits to your contribution.


Please contact Glen Giovannetti or Christopher Thomas for more information.