MF Challenge Underway

This article was originally published in our Fall 2012 MPN Updated. Click here to receive a free copy.

In the Spring issue of the MPN Update, we dsecribed a major new reearch initiative aimed at halting and reversing bone marrow fibrosis in MF patients. This initiative, which we call The MF Challenge, has taken the first steps that we hope will lead to a significantly better prognosis for MF patients. We were fortunate to find a partner in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Grant Applications
In January 2012, we issued a Call for Proposals for the MF Challenge, seeking innovative projects that would test new concepts for halting and reversing bone marrow fibrosis. Applicants were encouraged to think 'out of the box' and push the frontiers of MF science in new directions.

The response was excellent; 22 proposals were received from researchers around the world. Applicants included seasoned MPN researchers and also investigators from other areas (such as pulmonary fibrosis) who brought new perspectives to this subject area.

The Grant Review Process
In order to bring a broad perspective to the grant review process, the MPN Research Foundation and LLS assembled a special review panel. Recognized experts in MPN science were recruited, as well as experts in other forms of fibrosis (particularly pulmonary fibrosis). We also recruited several panel members from the biotech/pharmaceutical industry to help identify proposals with commercial translation potential.

On June 1 the panel met to discuss each proposal in detail and establish composite scores for each proposal. The result was a list of projects ranked in order of scientific merit and potential. We funded the following researchers:

Ann Mullally & Benjamin L. Ebert, of Brigham & Women's Hospital
Amit Verma & Zhizhuang Joe Zhao, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Pearlie Epling-Burnette and Adam Mailloux, of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
C. Arnold Spek, of the Center for Experimental and Molecular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam

Funding for the 2012 grant awards begins in October 2012. Mid-year and end of year progress reports will be reviewed by the panel that evaluated the original proposals.



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