13 months ago

20th Anniversary Highlights of Hope

  • Text
  • Hope
  • Institute
  • Scientific
  • Highlights
  • Epigenetics
  • Scientists
  • Michigan


EPIGENETICS CONTINUED FROM PG 25 > disease. It is also now home to a Cryo-EM Core, a suite of high-powered electron microscopes that can determine the structure of minute molecules 1/10,000 th the width of a human hair. Perhaps most exciting, the Institute is supporting clinical trials across the U.S. and abroad in the hope of moving new therapies into clinical practice. Further Together Before new drugs are used in patients they must run the gauntlet of clinical trials, which are complex, costly and rigorously conducted studies designed to ensure a drug’s efficacy and safety. These trials also require a tremendous amount of support and time. Jones and his team knew this obstacle presented an opportunity to have an immediate impact. They also knew that joining forces with some of the most influential and well-respected cancer research, medical and philanthropic organizations in the U.S. and abroad would strengthen and streamline their efforts. So, on a fall day in 2014, leading scientists and clinicians from these organizations, along with representatives from Stand Up To Cancer, the American Association for Cancer Research and industry, met at the Institute with one goal—to compete against cancer rather than each other. One of the results was the Van Andel Research Institute–Stand Up To Cancer Epigenetics Dream Team, a multiinstitutional effort to move epigenetic combination therapies into clinical trials and, ultimately, to patients. It was built on Stand Up To Cancer’s paradigm-shifting Dream Team model, which focuses on supporting cutting-edge research by collaborative teams. The first trial under the team’s auspices was launched in 2016 and focused on a promising combination therapy for VARI IS HOME TO THREE FELLOWS OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR CANCER RESEARCH ACADEMY; DR. PETER JONES, VARI'S CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER AND CO-LEADER OF THE VARI-SU2C EPIGENETICS DREAM TEAM; DR. GEORGE VANDE WOUDE, VARI'S FOUNDING RESEARCH DIRECTOR; AND DR. STEPHEN BAYLIN, CO-LEADER OF THE VARI-SU2C EPIGENETICS DREAM TEAM. 26 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

AN UP-CLOSE LOOK AT DALE CHIHULY'S SCULPTURE, LIFE, INSTALLED IN THE INSTITUTE'S LOBBY. metastatic colorectal cancer. Multiple trials are in the pipeline to investigate new therapies for other cancers such as myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. “Collaborations like this are important— they harness resources and expertise that go beyond any one organization,” Jones said. “It’s impossible for one place to have all of the experts and the best of everything. By joining forces, we can have an impact not only here, but globally. We can do so much more.” Forward Momentum What started in Grand Rapids is now moving far beyond the city’s boundaries, a revolution reflected in the scientific discoveries shaping tomorrow’s lifechanging therapies. The Institute has always “When people say Van Andel Research Institute, we want them to say epigenetics, and when people say epigenetics, we want them to say Van Andel Research Institute. - Dr. Peter Jones been and will continue to be a connector, a way to bring people and organizations together in the pursuit of a common goal, one outlined by Jay and Betty Van Andel in the earliest days of VAI—improving health and impacting lives. The ability to weave together the expertise and resources of many is more important now than ever before; scientific fields and new technology have become increasingly specialized, and going it alone is no longer an option. As the Institute has grown so has the city, especially the Medical Mile that now crowns Belknap Hill. At the same time, science and medicine have been in the midst of unprecedented discoveries, ever refining the understanding of life’s most intricate mechanisms. The last 20 years have laid the foundation for the Institute’s future—one that is predicated on translating hope into discovery and discovery into impact. VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 27

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