Stupid Strong Announces Research Grant To City of Hope To Support Gastric Cancer Research

$125,000 grant seeks to further advance less invasive, more accurate testing for early disease detection and identification of peritoneal metastasis in gastric cancer.

Dr. Ajay Goel
Dr. Ajay Goel

DALLAS, Aug. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Stupid Strong Charitable Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for gastric cancer, is awarding its second seed research grant of $125,000 to fund a Phase II study to validate the micro-RNA biomarkers discovered for the early and non-invasive detection of patients with gastric cancer, as well as the discovery of biomarkers for identifying peritoneal carcinomatosis.

The multi-year study is focused on the development of less invasive, accurate, blood-based tests to detect gastric cancer early at a time when the disease is still treatable. The principal investigator, Dr. Ajay Goel, intends to extend his earlier research on the use of circulating biomarkers in the bloodstream, which could lead to a minimally invasive “liquid biopsy” to detect this deadly form of cancer. This suggested novel approach requires validating the biomarkers in a prospective cohort of patients, which is the primary focus of the funding. Since the carcinogenesis process is driven by the development of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, measuring changes in the genome using biomarkers is a means to achieve the goal of early detection. In addition, Dr. Goel plans to leverage the funding to discover and validate biomarkers for peritoneal carcinomatosis in gastric cancer, a typically life-threatening situation that often occurs in patients suffering from this cancer type.

Stupid Strong is pleased to provide support to City of Hope, an independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, for the proposed research study to validate a panel of micro-RNA biomarkers in blood that may be used for early detection of gastric cancer and similarly in peritoneal carcinomatosis.

“I am so excited to be reunited with Dr. Goel in an effort to complete this ground-breaking project. It felt like we had some unfinished business from our previous partnership and we both wanted to bring it to a final conclusion to honor our organization’s Founder. We strongly believe this project can have a definitive and high impact in transforming the clinical practice for noninvasive screening in patients with gastric cancer,” said Jeffrey Netzer, President of Stupid Strong. “Dr. Goel understands the importance of this research and together with the resources and access to City of Hope’s National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, we have confidence this will be a successful endeavor.

Dr. Ajay Goel has spent the last 15 years studying gastric cancer. Dr. Goel has long-standing interest in understanding the pathogenesis of various gastrointestinal cancers, including colorectal, pancreatic and gastric cancer, and developing strategies for its primary and secondary prevention.

“This pilot funding is seminal in developing a proof-of-concept data that could lead to early detection of gastric cancer as well as personalized treatment that could prevent cancer recurrence,” said Ajay Goel, Ph.D., AGAF, professor and founding chair of the Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics at City of Hope. “The funding will go to furthering a blood test to catch gastric cancer early when it’s easier to treat. This funding will also help us look for biomarkers that can inform doctors if some patients can be prescribed chemotherapy prior to gastric surgery because their abdominal and pelvic area have peritoneal tumors.”

At least half of gastric cancer patients experience cancer recurrence after surgery because the surgeons either didn’t detect or couldn’t remove tiny peritoneal tumors that later metastasized. Dr. Goel’s lab is working to identify patients who have peritoneal tumors. If detected, doctors can prescribe chemotherapy before surgery, thus decreasing the chances that the cancer will return and spread later.

The grant term began on July 1, 2020. Stupid Strong conducts numerous community-based events to raise funds for research for early diagnosis and treatment options available for stomach cancer patients. To participate in these important events, promote awareness, and provide support services to gastric cancer patients and their families, please visit

City of Hope’s translational research and personalized treatment protocols advance care throughout the world. Human synthetic insulin and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution. A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope has been ranked among the nation’s “Best Hospitals” in cancer by U.S. News & World Report for 14 consecutive years. Its main campus is located near Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California.