ThyCa Announces First Grant Award for Thyroid Cancer Research

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. is pleased to announce the awarding of its first grant for thyroid cancer research. The grant recipient is Xiulong Xu, Ph.D., of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Xu’s project will focus on the relationship between a gene mutation and the most common type of thyroid cancer, with the ultimate goal of designing better treatment strategies for more than one type of thyroid cancer.

Dr. Xu is Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Rush Medical College. He earned three doctoral degrees between 1983 and 1990, including two in virology and one in veterinary medicine, from universities in China and Germany. He joined the medical research efforts at Rush Medical College in 1990 and became a medical school faculty member in 1996.

Dr. Xu’s previous research and papers have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals on cancer, surgery, pharmacology, and immunology. Through the ThyCa research grant, Dr. Xu will focus on the BRAF gene mutation in papillary thyroid cancer, with the goal of demonstrating that a particular molecular target would be relevant for chemotherapy or gene therapy. The research also aims to show a pathway through which anaplastic thyroid cancer might be redifferentiated to make radioiodine treatment effective.

The grant recipient was selected by the scientific review panel of the American Thyroid Association, the professional association of clinicians and researchers involved in thyroid diseases.

The grant fundraising was conducted by the volunteers of ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. through its campaign for thyroid cancer research.

After being notified of his award, Dr. Xu thanked ThyCa “for making this fund available. I am very grateful to the organization and those who donated their monies for making this happen. I feel compelled to work hard to improve our understanding of thyroid tumorigenesis for designing better therapeutic strategies for thyroid cancer. Thank you again to those who volunteer to work in the organization.”

“We are proud of this milestone in our support for research directed to finding a cure for all thyroid cancer and grateful to the many volunteers and donors who made it possible,” said Joni Eskenazi, Seattle, Washington, ThyCa Board Member and Fundraising Chair.

Gary Bloom, ThyCa Board Chair, said, “As an all-volunteer organization, our donations go to the direct support of our mission and not to administrative overhead. We thank the ATA for its support and expertise in providing scientific peer review of all the grant applications. This allows the volunteers of ThyCa to raise money for research and at the same time focus on our support and education projects.”

“This grant award, as well as future grants, will be awarded to the applicants that have the best combination of scientific merit, appropriately skilled researchers, the greatest likelihood for success, and the highest benefit for the thyroid cancer patient community, as determined by the ATA’s independent scientific panel, regardless of hospital or institution affiliation.”

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc., is an all-volunteer, national nonprofit 501 (c)(3) service organization of thyroid cancer survivors, families, and health care professionals. ThyCa’s mission is education, support, and communication for people at all stages of testing, treatment, and follow-up for all types of thyroid cancer, as well as for their families and friends.

Free support services and resources include ThyCa’s award-winning educational web site, seven e-mail support groups, local support groups coast to coast, a toll-free survivors’ telephone number, a free online newsletter, a free downloadable low-iodine cookbook, and regional one-day workshops.

In addition, ThyCa’s 6th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference will take place October 24-26, 2003 in Houston, Texas, at the Wyndham Greenspoint Hotel. ThyCa’s annual international conference brings together thyroid cancer survivors, families, and experts in thyroid cancer treatment and research.

Information about thyroid cancer, ThyCa’s free support services, and the annual conference is available by writing to PO Box 1545, New York, NY 10159-1545, e-mail, or the ThyCa web site,