MPN Challenge

MPN Challenge™

The MPN Challenge is a cornerstone of our relationship with the MPN research community, giving us a broad view of the most cutting-edge innovations around the world while providing a predictable funding program for investigators.”

Brandon Goetz, MPN Research Foundation Board of Directors

MPN Research Foundation has a history of executing a robust peer review, leveraging scientific experts. A major change to the 2024 process is that we included patient and caregiver reviewers to provide the patient’s perspective in influencing the deployment of our dollars into MPN research. I am personally very excited about this batch of projects and the potential for several of them to have near-term clinical impact.”

MPN Challenge awards are evaluated by the most engaged experts in MPNs and related fields to ensure that promising projects with potential for strong outcomes are recommended for funding. Receiving an MPN Challenge award from MPN Research Foundation is a mark of credibility for the research community.”

Open opportunities for research funding

MPN Research Foundation takes a portfolio approach to funding high-risk, high-reward research. We are small but mighty, leveraging our modest resources through different mechanisms to ensure we support a variety of research, from emerging short-term opportunities to sustained long-term projects that will have the greatest impact on patients.

MPN Challenge™ is our open request for applications. Adhering to high-standard protocols for scientific peer-reviewed research, MPN Challenge runs on approximately two-year cycles. Focus areas change each round as we learn more about unmet needs in MPN research. MPN Challenge projects funded for more than a decade have included critical work on selective JAK2 inhibition, inflammation, testing immuno-therapy potential, understanding when mutations are acquired, iron metabolism in PV, and more.

Researchers are awarded two-year grants totaling $200,000, and they are required to make regular progress reports to receive the full funding.

“These investigators are working in important and evolving areas of research,” says Rick Winneker, PhD, Director of Scientific Strategies for MPN Research Foundation. “It serves as a catalyst for significant advancements in the field, fostering innovation and collaboration among researchers, ultimately leading to the development of novel treatments and approaches to managing classical myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).” 

Our 9th group of recipients was announced in May 2024. For information about our next award cycle, please contact us at research@mpnrf.org.

2024 MPN Challenge™ awardees

Tania Jain, MBBS
(Johns Hopkins University)

Project:
Immunotherapeutic targeting of SLAMF7 in myeloproliferative neoplasms

A novel approach to treating myelofibrosis, using pioneering engineered T-cell therapy called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells. The effects of inhibiting fibrosis-inducing cells by developing CAR T-cells directed at SLAMF7 as the therapeutic target will be studied in this project.

Jonas Jutzi, MD, PhD
(Brigham & Women's Hospital)
&
Gabriela Hobbs, MD
(Massachusetts General Hospital)

Project:
Identification of genetic and biological markers of risk of relapse in myelofibrosis patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

The project aims to understand why ruxolitinib use during and after stem cell transplantation improved outcomes in myelofibrosis (MF) patients by analyzing genetic changes and the drug's impact on the immune system. The goal is to find ways to make stem cell transplantation safer and improved for patients with MF in the future and to use this information to prevent relapse.

Robert Kralovics, PhD
(Medical University of Vienna)

Project:
Exploiting the anti-cancer antibody response in MPN patients and mouse models for the development of new immunotherapeutics

The goal is to capture all the different antibodies made by MPN patients that can bind to myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) cancer cells (not only mutated CALR), identify the cancer-specific features they bind to, and generate artificial antibody formats that have the potential to trigger selective killing of MPN cancer cells.

Dr Simon Mendez Ferrer
Simón Méndez-Ferrer, PhD
(University of Cambridge)
&
Jose Antonio Perez Simon, MD
(Institute of Biomedical Research of Seville)

Project:
Immunogenic clearance of senescent neutrophils to prevent pathogenic cell-cell interactions in MPN

The goal is to establish the potential of a new biomarker on the surface of neutrophils for early prediction of disease pathogenesis and progression and as a potential therapeutic target in the myeloproliferative neoplasms. The outcomes of this research will further pave the path for better prediction and clinical testing of innovative therapeutic strategies, taking advantage of the potential of our own immune system to fight disease, and improve the quality of life and the outcomes of treatments in patients.

Brandi Reeves, MD
(University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
&
Steffen Koschmieder, MD, PhD
(University Medical Center RWTH Aachen Pauwelsstr)

Project:
Neutrophil tissue factor and molecular biomarkers of MPN-related chronic kidney disease

This study aims to understand why chronic kidney disease (CKD) happens in people with a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). One major focus of this research is on neutrophil derived tissue factor in MPN patients and its role in CKD. This innovative study will be the very first to explore why CKD happens in MPN and will pave the way for rational treatments and improved patient outcomes.

Daniel Royston, MBChB, BMSC, DPhil, FRCPath
(University of Oxford)
&
Rosalin Cooper, PhD
(University of Oxford)

Project:
Spatial transcriptomic analysis of the bone marrow landscape: a novel approach to improve AI-based assessment in MPN
The goal is to develop new and improved artificial intelligence (AI) tools to better diagnose and provide much more information about what goes wrong in the bone marrow of myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients. It will help to find out which appearances in the bone marrow are important when planning treatment and importantly, allow the care team to decide which new treatments may be most effective in MPN. Another goal is to work closely with patient groups to help MPN patients to better understand the results of their bone marrow biopsies.

Previously funded research projects

2021

  • See Projects

    • Sara Buhrlage, James Griffin, Jarrod Marto, and Ellen Weisberg (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute): “JOSD1 as a novel targeted therapy for JAK2V617F dependent myeloproliferative neoplasms.” Dr. Buhrlage’s project is being supported in part by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
    • Anandi Krishnan, Jason Gotlib, Holden Maecker, and James Zehnder (Stanford University): “Platelet, blood and plasma signatures of MPN subtype-specific risk.
    • Bridget Marcellino and Cansu Cimen Bozkus (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai): “Characterization of immune landscape and determinants of immune dysregulation in myeloproliferative neoplasms.
    • Josef T. Prchal (Huntsman Cancer Institute), Jihyun Song (University of Utah), Perumal Thiagarajan (Baylor College of Medicine), Tomas Ganz (University of California, Los Angeles) and Victor Gordeuk (University of Illinois): “Role of iron deficiency in thromboses of polycythemia vera.
    • Stephen Oh (Washington University, St. Louis): “Functional interrogation of an aberrant DUSP6-RSK1 signaling axis driving MPN pathogenesis.

2019

  • See Projects

    • Matyas Ecsedi, MD, Ph.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center “A JAK2 V617F -directed T cell receptor transgenic T cell immunotherapy for the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms” Partial funding in year one is being provided by the Fred Hutchinson’s Cancer Research Center’s Evergreen Fund
    • Yelena Ginzburg, MD Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai “Dysregulated iron metabolism plays a pivotal role in polycythemia vera”
    • Vikas Gupta, MD, Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network “Feasibility of a patient preferences-controlled study of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation versus best available non-transplant therapies in patients with myelofibrosis (ALLO-BAT Study)”
    • Catriona Jamieson, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego “Detection and Inhibition of Malignant RNA Processing Deregulation in Myelofibrosis”
    • Alison Moliterno, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine “Targeting Thrombopoietin Signaling in the MPN”
    • Jyoti Nangalia, MD, Ph.D., Wellcome Sanger Institute “Origins of MPN: Understanding the timing of acquisition of driver mutations and dynamics of clonal expansion”
    • Vijay Sankaran, MD, Ph.D., Boston Children’s Hospital “Dissecting Germline Genetic Risk for Myeloproliferative”








      Read the full report about the research findings of the 2019 MPN Challenge Award cycle in the Summer 2022 Newsletter (pages 3-5).

2017

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MPN Challenge awards are generously funded by the Susan Ann Protter Research Fund and our community of committed supporters. Join us in funding some of the most promising initiatives in MPN research.