Fox Chase Radiation Oncologist Dr. Rebecca Shulman Receives ASTRO-BCRF Emerging Investigator Award to Build a Diverse Scientific Workforce

Dr. Shulman
Rebecca Shulman, MD, was recently recognized with the American Society for Radiation Oncology-Breast Cancer Research Foundation Emerging Investigator Award to Build a Diverse Scientific Workforce.

PHILADELPHIA (December 20, 2023) — Rebecca Shulman, MD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, was recently recognized with the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)-Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) Emerging Investigator Award to Build a Diverse Scientific Workforce.

“This award is particularly meaningful to me as a young investigator,” said Shulman. “It’s very encouraging to have my research enthusiastically supported by major organizations like ASTRO and BCRF.”

The ASTRO-BCRF award is given to an early-career breast radiation oncology researcher and provides $100,000 for a one-year project. One goal of the award is to foster the careers of cancer researchers who are committed to improving healthcare by promoting the participation of ethnic and racial groups historically underrepresented in biomedical research.

Shulman’s project, “Combination Therapy with Radiotherapy, Immune Checkpoint Blockade, and Curaxin Enhances Tumor Regression in Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer,” is a collaborative undertaking with Siddharth Balachandran, PhD, a Professor in the Cancer Signaling and Microenvironment Research Program at Fox Chase.

The project employs an animal model to investigate the benefits of a previously untested combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy. Demonstration of therapeutic efficacy in the laboratory setting would provide support for clinical trials investigating similar forms of therapy for patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.

Shulman’s prior research at Fox Chase has included studies of the relation of BRCA1 mutations to tumor radiosensitivity and of the molecular mechanisms that allow cancers to evade tumor-killing agents.

In addition to the support of the ASTRO-BCRF award, her research has been recognized and funded by the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials: Career Development Award, the Conquer Cancer Foundation ASCO Young Investigator Award, the Rita R. Holman Breast Cancer Foundation Annual Research Award, and the LUNGevity Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Fellow Award, among others.

“This award provides the kind of affirmation that is so essential when you’re in the early phase of your career as an independent clinical researcher,” said Shulman. “Receiving the award is a great honor. More importantly, it is the support of dedicated organizations like ASTRO-BCRF that will lead to the discoveries that improve the lives of patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.”

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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