Cleveland Clinic Caregiver Grants Fund Research of COVID-19 Vaccines in Cancer Patients, New Cancer Treatments

Charis Eng, MD, PhD and Vinod Labhasetwar, PhD were recently selected to receive July 2021 Cleveland Clinic Caregiver Catalyst Grants. The Caregiver Catalyst Grants program pools the gifts from thousands of generous Cleveland Clinic donors into a fund allocated to support caregivers’ innovative ideas and has awarded more than $4.6 million since its inception in 2018

Charis Eng

Dr. Eng’s team will receive $64,000 over one year to assess the potential responsiveness of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in the cells of individuals with a high genetic susceptibility to cancer due to germline (heritable) mutations in the PTEN gene. Dr. Eng is the chair of the Genomic Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, the Sondra J. and Stephen R. Hardis Endowed Chair in Cancer Genomic Medicine, and member of the Cancer Genomics Program of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Portrait of Vinod Labhasetwar

Dr. Labhasetwar received funding to demonstrate that increasing anti-cancer drugs in lymph nodes is more effective in treating advanced-stage cancer than IV injection and minimizes side effects through lower, more targeted doses. Dr. Labhasetwar is staff in the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, a professor of molecular medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and a member of the Developmental Therapeutics Program of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.