TAMPA, Fla. Ana Gomes, Ph.D., assistant member of Moffitt’s Molecular Oncology Department, has been awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator (DP2) Award. The five-year grant will fund research aimed at understanding how metabolic and epigenetic changes that occur during aging may drive cancer.  

“Aging has always been considered a risk factor for cancer development. The thought behind this is that the longer you live, the more time there is for cells to mutate or change leading to disease. But does cancer differ based on the age of the person? Does a tumor grow faster? Do older patients react differently to certain treatments? Those are the questions I am hoping to answer,” said Gomes.

For this project, Gomes will focus on lung cancer, one of the most lethal age-related malignancies. She will conduct a series of experiments utilizing bulk and single cell analysis to define how the aging process affects tumor progression and resistance to anti-cancer therapies. The goal is to provide a framework for developing new treatment strategies based on cell changes that occur with aging.

“Dr. Gomes’ research has the potential to transform the way we think about cancer and improve the personalized approaches we use to treat the disease,” said John L. Cleveland, Ph.D., Moffitt Center Director. “DP2 grants are highly competitive awards that are given to junior investigators who are thinking outside the box to make an impact in health care. It is the first time a Moffitt faculty member has received this award, and this reflects the exceptional caliber of the research of Dr. Gomes.”

The NIH Director’s New Innovator Award is part of the Common Fund’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program, which was created to accelerate the pace of biomedical, behavioral and social science discoveries. It identifies and supports early-stage investigators with highly innovative research ideas that may be considered risky or at too early of a stage to receive traditional peer reviewed grant funding.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 52 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 7,500 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.4 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

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