Nathan Singh, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.
Singh is one of five new Damon Runyon Clinical Investigators named by the organization, which supports early-career scientists conducting cutting-edge cancer research. Each awardee will receive $600,000 over three years, in addition to help with research costs. Further, because many would-be physician-scientists cite the need to pay medical school loans as a deterrent to pursuing research, Damon Runyon also will retire up to $100,000 of such debt owed by each awardee.
Award recipients each conduct patient-oriented cancer research at major research centers under the mentorship of leading scientists. Singh will be mentored by John F. DiPersio, MD, PhD, the Virginia E. & Sam J. Golman Professor of Medicine and director of the oncology division at Washington University.
Singh’s research is focused on understanding why a cell-based immunotherapy, called CAR-T cell therapy, is effective in some patients but not others and why, in some cases, it loses its effectiveness over time. His team studies the interactions between CAR-T cells and blood cancer cells in an effort to understand how cancer cells drive CAR-T cells to become dysfunctional. The goal is to use this knowledge to develop next-generation immunotherapies that are more effective for more patients.