Stupid Strong Pledges $450,000 Grant to Advance Gastric Cancer Family Study

DALLAS, Nov. 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Stupid Strong Charitable Foundation is proud to announce a significant commitment of $450,000 in grant funding over four years to support a groundbreaking research project at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. This grant will propel the “Cancer Patients’ Family Matters” study led by Dr. Jaffer Ajani, aimed at unraveling the mysteries behind the hereditary nature of gastric cancer and developing strategies for early detection and prevention.

Gastric cancer, a life-threatening malignancy, has been observed to disproportionately affect families. The research, supported by Stupid Strong, will focus on enrolling gastric cancer patients and their family members, totaling 500 patients and 5,000 individuals overall. This comprehensive study aims to build a biorepository of blood specimens and create an integrated database of clinical data, health measurements, and questionnaire responses from participants.

Dr. Ajani’s team will investigate blood-based biomarkers in conjunction with other known risk factors to assess the risk for gastric cancer accurately and develop personalized strategies for cancer prevention. This research addresses a significant unmet need in the field, as there are currently no effective tools to assess the risk for gastric cancer or detect it in its early stages.

The study, led by Dr. Ajani in collaboration with study director Dr. Samir Hanash, a professor of Clinical Cancer Prevention Research at MD Anderson, will not only provide invaluable insights into gastric cancer but also serve as a foundation for future discoveries in clinical treatments, screening methods, and preventive interventions.

Dr. Ajani’s impressive track record in gastric cancer research, including projects funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Department of Defense, and his leadership roles in organizations like the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the Food and Drug Administration’s Oncology Drug Advisory Committee, underscores his expertise in translating research discoveries into practical clinical applications.

This generous grant from the Stupid Strong Charitable Foundation will enable Dr. Ajani to hire staff, identify study participants, administer detailed lifestyle questionnaires, and collect and process blood samples. The initial funding will support 18-24 months of active participation in the study, with preliminary data paving the way for larger grants from federal and Texas funding sources for comprehensive analyses and program development.

“This is an original MD Anderson project, and the benefit will be immense and unparalleled,” stated Dr. Ajani. “Our hope is that this research and the information it generates will be appreciated and widely adopted by multiple institutions, ultimately leading to recommendations for preventive screening and intervention programs benefiting those at risk for gastric and other forms of cancer worldwide.”

Dr. Jaffer Ajani

Dr. Jaffer Ajani

“Stupid Strong’s commitment to funding innovative research projects such as this reflects its dedication to making a significant impact on cancer prevention and treatment,” explains Jeff Netzer, Board President. “The foundation’s continued support is vital in advancing the fight against this devastating disease.”

About Stupid Strong Charitable Foundation:
Stupid Strong Foundation is a grant-based organization, dedicated to raising awareness about gastric cancer, advancing funding for research, and providing education and support to families in need. It is estimated that we will see over 27,000 new cases of stomach cancer this year in the US with over 11,000 deaths resulting from the disease. Because of the smaller number of cases relative to other cancers, it receives very little federal funding and few resources devoted to researching a cure. To date, Stupid Strong has granted over $1.2 million to institutions around the globe for gastric cancer research and community support. exists for the purpose of making the cure for stomach cancer a reality.