Thyroid Cancer Experts and Survivors Collaborate: ThyCa Announces 2010 Research Grants

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc., is proud to announce two new 2010 Thyroid Cancer Research Grants plus two continuation grants. The grant recipients are researchers at institutions in the United States and Switzerland. They were selected by an independent expert panel of the American Thyroid Association (ATA.)

First awarded in 2003, and continuing every year since, ThyCa’s grants are the first-ever thyroid cancer research grants to be funded entirely by thyroid cancer patients, caregivers, and friends. The ThyCa grants are open to researchers and institutions worldwide. ThyCa has awarded more than $650,000 for thyroid cancer research, to researchers in France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.

The 2010 new ThyCa grant recipients are:

  • Rozita Bagheri-Yarmand, Ph.D., University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer, Houston, Texas, for the project “Center Activating Transcription Factor 4 (ATF4), a Novel Putative Tumor Suppressor Gene in Medullary Thyroid Cancer.”
  • Tania Pilli, M.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, for the project “The Role of MADD, an IG20 Gene Splice Variant, and Its Potential Use as Therapeutic Target in the Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.”

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association has also awarded a second year of funding to its two 2009 grant recipients, also selected by ATA’s independent panel:

  • Dingxie Liu, M.D., Ph.D. of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, for the project “Dually Targeting the MAP Kinase and PI3K Pathways in Thyroid Cancer – Testing of a Novel Therapeutic Approach.”
  • Martin Walter, M.D. of University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland, for the project “Somatostatin-coupled Nanoparticles for Imaging and Therapy of Medullary Thyroid Cancer.”

New 2010 grant recipient Dr. Bagheri-Yarmand earned the Ph.D. with highest honors from University Paris, Paris, France, followed by postdoctoral fellowships at INSERME U353, in Paris, France, and the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, where she is now an Assistant Professor.

New 2010 grant recipient Dr. Pilli is an Endocrinologist who received her education in Italy and is conducting the thyroid cancer research project working with Dr. Prebhakar of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Dr. Pacini of Italy, as part of developing a career in translational research. The studies under the ThyCa grant are aimed at having implications for developing novel therapies for anaplastic thyroid cancer.

ThyCa’s grants, now in their eighth year, are made possible through the contributions from thousands of thyroid cancer survivors, family members, and friends who want to support increased research to find better treatment options and cures for all thyroid cancer, one of the few cancers significantly increasing in the number of newly-diagnosed patients.

“ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association is proud to raise much-needed funds for thyroid cancer research, and grateful to our many donors,” said ThyCa Executive Director Gary Bloom. “We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with the American Thyroid Association. We’re especially pleased to support the best thyroid cancer research projects proposed by young investigators, with funding available to researchers and research centers worldwide.”

Grant recipients from 2003 – 2010 include researchers at these institutions:

  • Cochin Institut, Paris, France
  • Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • emorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
  • Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, and Medical University of Gdansk, Poland
  • Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
  • University of California Los Angeles/Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Health Care System, Los Angeles, California
  • University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • University Hospital Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany
  • University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois
  • University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

ThyCa has two Research Funds. One fund supports research on follicular-cell-derived thyroid cancer, including papillary, follicular, anaplastic, and variants. The other fund supports research on medullary thyroid cancer. Both funds welcome contributions of any size. Information about ThyCa’s Rally for Research fundraising can be found at

This year ThyCa is marking its 15th year of providing free services to thyroid cancer survivors, families, medical professionals, and the public. ThyCa sponsors free year-round thyroid cancer support groups; one-to-one support matched by type of thyroid cancer; free publications including a Patient Information Packet , a downloadable low-iodine cookbook now in its expanded 7th edition in English, French, and Spanish, and many other publications; free pediatric backpacks with information kits for children and teens with thyroid cancer and their families; free monthly online newsletter; and an educational web site with more than 650 pages.

ThyCa also sponsors Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month in September, a worldwide observance, plus year-round awareness campaigns, as well as seminars, regional workshops, and the annual International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference. Details are available on our website or by calling 1-877-588-7904 or e-mailing

The American Thyroid Association (ATA, is the lead medical professional organization dedicated to promoting thyroid health and understanding thyroid biology and all thyroid diseases in the United States. The ATA values scientific inquiry, clinical excellence, public service, education, collaboration, and collegiality. The ATA fosters excellence in research, patient care, and education of patients, the public, and the medical and scientific communities.