INDIANAPOLIS—The Heroes Foundation has named Nawal Kassem, MD, its latest SJP Heroes Cancer Research Fund Fellow. The Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine will receive $14,000 annually from 2023 to 2025 to study hereditary cancer through cascade testing.
Hereditary cancers such as breast, colon, prostate, pancreatic and ovarian cancers are caused by mutations in the genetic code that are passed down from parents to their children. Depending on the mutation, an individual can have up to 80 percent increased risk for certain cancers.
Once a person is identified as carrying a genetic mutation, they can distinguish family members who might also be at risk. This process is called cascade testing. Through cascade testing, people can identify strategies, such as surgery, to help decrease the risk of cancer in high-risk populations.
The total $42,000 from the SJP Heroes Cancer Research Fund will help Dr. Kassem’s team uncover key factors to improve cascade testing. Information gathered from this project will be used to design future trials to increase cascade testing rates for genetic cancers.
The Heroes Foundation’s Medical Advisory Committee recommends which projects the organization should support. The group noted the connection between Dr. Kassem’s work and the Heroes Foundation’s combined programmatic missions, representing a variety of patient and cancer types.
For example, the Catherine Peachey Fund focuses on breast cancer. Because breast cancer is a hereditary disease, Dr. Kassem’s study aligns with the Catherine Peachey Fund’s mission to advance breast cancer treatment.
The SJP Heroes Cancer Research has awarded $100,000 to cancer researchers since 2013. This regular funding opportunity allows Indiana University School of Medicine faculty to recruit promising physician researchers from around the world to train in an environment that fosters the merging of research and treatment.
About the SJP Heroes Cancer Research Fund
The SJP Heroes Cancer Research Fund is an endowed fund created in honor of Susan J. Patrick, Heroes Foundation co-founder Cindy Todd’s mother. This funding allows Indiana University School of Medicine faculty to recruit physician researchers from around the world to train in an environment that fosters the merging of research and treatment. These researchers participate in collaborative research efforts as well as conduct independent investigations. For more, read here.
About the Heroes Foundation
The Heroes Foundation serves the Indiana cancer community by providing meaningful support to cancer patients, education to promote cancer prevention, and resources to advance research for a cure. The organization was co-founded by cancer survivor Vince Todd Jr. and his wife Cindy Todd in 2000. For more, read here.