Congratulations to Kevin B. Jones, MD, who was recently awarded the prestigious Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award for his research projects related to sarcoma. Jones is an assistant professor of orthopaedics, an HCI Investigator in the Nuclear Control of Cell Growth and Differentiation (NC) program, and a member of HCI's Center for Children's Cancer Research (C3R). The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation is the oldest private cancer research fund in the United States. Jones is the first orthopaedic surgeon, and only the second surgeon, ever to receive this award. He is one of six recipients out of 150 applicants from cancer centers and institutes in North America.
The award provides support for his three-year project, which will investigate the role of the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway in synovial sarcoma, a deadly soft-tissue cancer that occurs most often in adolescents and young adults. The proposed experiments will test the ability to use drug therapies targeted against certain members of that pathway, prior to the launch of a clinical trial focused on this type of cancer. Using genetic mouse models developed in the laboratory of Mario Capecchi, PhD, Jones will decipher critical points of control in the pathway and whether they can be impacted by available targeted pharmacotherapies.
Jones's mentors for the project include Capecchi, his mentor for the NCI K08 that generally supports his career development, and Sunil Sharma, MD, director of HCI's Center for Investigational Therapeutics. Jones will continue to be advised by his K08 mentoring committee, which includes Lor Randall, MD; Steve Lessnick, MD, PhD; and Mary Beckerle, PhD.