The Salk Institute received a matching $1 million gift from the BioMed Realty Management Team, which was used to fund the recruitment of award-winning cancer researcher Christina Towers and to support her research and that of the Salk Cancer Center. The challenge match—where BioMed Realty matches dollar for dollar, up to $1 million—will also support Salk’s bold Conquering Cancer Initiative, which is harnessing cutting-edge approaches to fight some of the deadliest cancers, including: pancreatic, ovarian, lung, colon, brain (glioblastoma) and triple-negative breast cancer.
Spearheading the gift was BioMed Realty’s CEO, Tim Schoen, who is a Salk Trustee and chairman of the Institute’s Conquering Cancer Initiative Advisory Committee.
Towers, who joined Salk’s renowned NCI-designated Cancer Center as an assistant professor in December, examines how cancer cells recycle both their own nutrients and the power-generating structures called mitochondria in order to survive. By using a combination of gene-editing techniques, light-based genetic manipulation (optogenetics), three-dimensional miniature organs (“organoids”) and detailed imaging, she aims to identify the best ways to target the recycling pathways that tumors use to survive. Her research aims to lead to new targeted cancer therapies that can improve patient outcomes and survival.