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Bette Caan joins global Cancer Grand Challenges team

The team will receive $25 million to study cancer-related loss of weight and muscle mass


The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research‘s Bette Caan, DrPH, is part of a team of researchers who have received a $25 million Cancer Grand Challenges award to tackle the challenge of cachexia — a debilitating wasting condition people often experience in the later stages of their cancer.

Cancer Grand Challenges is a global funding platform, co-founded by Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute, the 2 largest funders of cancer research in the world.

The Division of Research’s Bette Caan (3rd from left) with members of the cachexia team.

Caan is part of the CANCAN (Cancer Cachexia Action Network) team, which unites clinicians, advocates, and scientists with expertise in cancer, metabolism, neuroendocrine function, immunology, and more, from 14 institutions across the US and the UK. The team hopes to build a deep understanding of what causes cachexia and develop novel treatments that can improve both quality of life and survival.

“It is an honor to be noted for our compelling science, especially given the many excellent cancer cachexia researchers in the field,” said Caan, a senior research scientist and nutritional epidemiologist. “The Cancer Grand Challenges approach has allowed us to be bold in our thinking, and to try to take large leaps instead of incremental steps forward.”

The CANCAN team will be led by Eileen White, PhD, of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Marcus DaSilva Goncalves, MD, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medicine, and Tobias Janowitz, MD, PhD, of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Additional members of the team include researchers from Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, University of Rochester, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Louisiana State University, University of Cambridge, University College London, and University of Glasgow.

The CANCAN team is 1 of 4 new teams receiving $25 million from Cancer Grand Challenges. Read more about the Cancer Grand Challenges teams here.

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