NETRF Accelerates Research into Treatments for Neuroendocrine Cancer with $4.1 Million in Awards

BOSTON, Mass. – The Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) today announced $4.1 million in neuroendocrine tumor (NET) research funding to support the development of new and innovative treatments for this uncommon cancer.

NETRF awarded funds to 16 investigators to support their research to advance our understanding of neuroendocrine cancer and explore new therapeutic avenues for patients. NETRF’s latest round of awards provides critical funding for unique projects on NETs, addressing both basic and translational research.

James Bibb, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, received the Petersen Accelerator Award for his research project on modeling, mechanisms, and experimental treatment for pancreatic NETs.

“I am very excited that Dr. Bibb received the 2021 Petersen Accelerator Award. His innovative research holds great promise in furthering our understanding of pancreatic NET formation by using his novel disease model to explore tumorigenic signaling pathways and the role of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5). Furthermore, Dr. Bibb’s studies seek to uncover drugs that target these pathways which may lead to the development of a new class of therapeutics for the treatment of pancreatic NETs,” says Dr. John Kanki, NETRF’s Director of Research.

Chang Chan, PhD, of Rutgers University, received a Petersen Investigator Award for his research using single-cell genomics to study the origin and gene expression of pancreatic NETs.

NETRF awarded the Martha O’Donnell Pagel Pilot Research Award to Carl Gay, MD, PhD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Gay’s research focuses on the subtypes of extrapulmonary neuroendocrine carcinoma to determine potential therapeutic opportunities.

In addition to the Petersen Accelerator and Investigator Awards and the Martha O’Donnell Pagel Pilot Research Award, NETRF funded six Investigator Awards and seven Pilot awards. The awards support a diverse set of projects to understand better and potentially treat NETs. Areas of research funded by NETRF include targeted therapies, genomics, proteomics, molecular events involved in the development and progression of NETs, and cell-based models.

“The researchers funded by NETRF are impressive and dedicated to making new discoveries about neuroendocrine cancer,” said Elyse Gellerman, CEO of NETRF. “It is heartening to see the unwavering commitment of these talented scientists, and that should offer hope to those diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor and their families.”

Six of the grants were awarded to research institutions new to NETRF. Ten of the 16 awards will fund NETs research at academic institutions in the U.S., including The University of Alabama at Birmingham; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Stanford University School of Medicine; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Columbia University Medical Center; The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; The University of Chicago; and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Globally, NETRF funded research projects at the University of Paris; the Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center in Athens, Greece; the Hospital de Santa Maria, Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte EPE in Lisbon, Portugal; The Sheba Fund for Health Service and Research in Israel; the University of Bari in Bari, Italy; and The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

These grants bring the total NETRF research investment to $36 million over more than 15 years. NETRF has funded two and a half times more NET investigators than the National Institutes of Health. NETRF grants are competitive, with applications undergoing a rigorous peer-review process. The Foundation is currently accepting applications for its next grant cycle. For more details about the awards, including areas of research interest, visit the NETRF website at