Pelotonia riding Aug. 4-6

Staff Reports

COLUMBUS – Pelotonia, a grassroots organization that raises money to fund cancer research, will open registration for the three-day experience of cycling, entertainment and volunteerism, which takes place Aug. 4-6, 2017, on Wed., Feb. 8 at

“We are excited to build upon Pelotonia’s success in 2017,” said Pelotonia President and CEO Doug Ulman. “With 1.6 million new cancer diagnoses expected this year in the U.S. – more than 68,000 of those in Ohio – there is much work to be done towards our goal of ending cancer. And in order to make progress, we need more people than ever before to register for and participate in Pelotonia ’17 –whether it’s as a rider, virtual rider or volunteer.”

When participants register for Pelotonia ‘17, they commit to raising funds for cancer research and join a movement with the shared goal of ending cancer. Several fundraising options are available, including:

  • High Rollers, who commit to raising a minimum of $5000
  • Virtual Riders, who are unable to participate in the ride, but want to participate in the movement with a $100 minimum fundraising commitment
  • Riders, who commit to raising a minimum of between $1250-$2500 depending on which of the six routes they select.

The six routes and the corresponding fundraising commitments are:

  • Columbus to Pickerington, 25 miles, 1-day ride, $1250 fundraising commitment
  • Columbus to New Albany, 45 miles, 1-day ride, $1500 fundraising commitment
  • New Albany to Gambier, 55 miles, 1-day ride, $1750 fundraising commitment
  • Columbus to Gambier, 100 miles, 1-day ride, $2000 fundraising commitment
  • New Albany to Gambier and back, 135 miles, 2-day ride, $2500 fundraising commitment
  • Columbus to Gambier and back, 180 miles, 2-day ride, $2500 fundraising commitment

Pelotonia provides all participants with a fundraising toolkit to help them meet their commitments. Riders, virtual riders and volunteers have until Fri., Oct. 6, 2017 to raise funds for Pelotonia ’17. Registration for riders is $100 until Tues., June 6, on which date the fee increases to $150. For riders who register after July 6, the registration fee is $200.

Pelotonia ’17 will hold its opening ceremony on Fri., Aug. 4. On Sat., Aug. 5, more than 7,500 riders will embark on 1- and 2-day rides on routes ranging from 25-180 miles and on Sun., Aug. 6, riders from the 135- and 180-mile routes will return to Columbus.

In 2016, riders, virtual riders and volunteers raised a record-breaking $24.1 million, bringing the organization’s eight-year total to $130.1 million. Donors from all 50 states and more than 60 countries contributed to the funds raised by the 275 pelotons.

Pelotonia donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). These donations are used to support cancer research in several ways:

  • Idea Grants, which investigate new and innovative basic, clinical, translation and population-based science clinical trials;
  • Fellowships, which provide for undergraduate, graduate, medical and postdoctoral students to acquire state-of-the-art equipment and technologies;
  • Tools for discovery to aid cutting-edge research;
  • Funding research of the best and brightest physician scientists who are coming to Columbus, Ohio to further their passion for treating patients and pursuing scientific solutions.

Since its inception, Pelotonia has funded and awarded 89 idea grants and 399 fellowships as well as support for 63 senior scientists. Pelotonia’s operational costs are paid for by major funding partners including Huntington Bank, L Brands Foundation, Peggy and Richard Santulli, American Electric Power Foundation and Nationwide. Other notable partners include the Harold C. Schott Foundation and the Cardinal Health Foundation.

About Pelotonia

Founded in 2008, Pelotonia was established with the objective to fund life-saving cancer research. As a centerpiece of its year-round fundraising efforts, Pelotonia hosts a three-day experience that includes a weekend of cycling, entertainment and volunteerism. In its eight years, Pelotonia has raised over $130 million for cancer research. Thanks to its generous funding partners, Huntington Bank, L Brands Foundation, Peggy and Richard Santulli, American Electric Power Foundation, Nationwide, Cardinal Health Foundation, and Harold C. Schott Foundation, Pelotonia is able to direct 100 percent of every dollar raised by its participants to cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.The 2017 Pelotonia ride is scheduled for Aug. 4-6, 2017. Learn more at

New Pelotonia ‘Idea Grants’ Fund Blood, Brain, Breast, Ovarian and Thyroid Cancer Research

COLUMBUS — Eight additional cancer research projects have received funding from Pelotonia, the annual cycling movement that has raised more than $130 million for cancer research efforts at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

The 2017 Pelotonia Idea Grants Program projects range from evaluating targeted therapies for thyroid cancer and immunotherapy treatment approaches in breast cancer, acute myeloid leukemia and brain tumors to laboratory research aimed at understanding cancer stem cell differentiation in ovarian cancer.

In the past seven years, more than 100 OSUCCC – James research teams have received Pelotonia Idea Grants, which provide funding support for two years. Awardees are selected through a peer-review process conducted by both internal and external scientists not competing for grants in the current funding year.

A total of $1.14 million will be awarded for this latest round of Pelotonia Idea Grants, with $11.6 million in funding awarded since the program’s inception. This represents the work of investigators across eight colleges plus Nationwide Children’s Hospital Medical Center as well as Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“To make strides toward ending cancer, we must continue to invest in research. The Pelotonia community raises critically important funding to launch new and innovative ideas that will improve our understanding of this disease and help develop better detection and treatment options to help cancer patients, ”says Michael Caligiuri, MD, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute “We are extremely grateful for all of the dedicated Pelotonia riders, virtual riders, volunteers, and corporate partners helping to raise funds to make this life-changing research possible.”

Research projects are as follows:

Understanding Cancer Stem Cells in Ovarian Cancer

Only 45 percent of ovarian cancer patients reach the five-year survival mark, primarily due to high rates of advanced disease and disease recurrence. Researchers believe cancer stem cells are the root of many solid tumors, including ovarian. OSUCCC – James researchers recently discovered a protein (DDB2) that stops the growth of ovarian cancer stem cells. This study further investigates the mechanisms by which DDB2 stops cancer stem cell survival. Results could help scientists develop better strategies to stop ovarian cancers from spreading and returning.

Investigator: Qi-En Wang, MD, PhD, OSUCCC – James Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Research Program

Evaluating New Targets for Glioblastoma Treatment

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common type of malignant brain tumor, with most patients living just 12 to 15 months from the initial diagnosis. New molecular targets are urgently needed to make a significant improvements in patient survival. Guo and team recently revealed that a protein called SCAP is essential for activation of SREBP-1, a gene/protein known to have involvement in GBM growth. This study will focus on advancing knowledge of how cellular metabolism is “reprogrammed” in GBM. This knowledge could help identify promising new molecular targets for the disease.

Investigator: Deliang Guo, PhD, OSUCCC – James Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Research Program

Improved Imaging for Bladder Cancer Diagnosis and Staging

Bladder cancer impacts more than 77,000 people annually. Accurate staging of the disease, however, can be difficult with the imaging tools currently available. This makes it difficult for urologists to recommend the best treatment for the patient’s specific disease characteristics. This study will develop pathological image analysis tools to accurately stage and stratify patients by disease risk. This will help urologists more accurately stage a patient’s cancer and enable treatment decisions that balance the best chance of long-term cancer control while avoiding over-treatment.

Investigator: Cheryl Lee, MD, Chair, Department of Urology and OSUCCC – James urologist; and Metin Gurcan, PhD, Department of Biomedical Informatics and OSUCCC – James Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Research Program

Stimulating the Immune System to Fight Cancer

Cancer activates specific cells that interfere with the immune system’s ability to kill cancer. Recent OSUCCC – James research showed that these cells – known as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) – can be stopped with the drug ibrutinib, which targets and blocks Bruton’s tyrosine kinase. In preclinical studies, researchers also showed that this drug was most effective if given in combination with a second drug that activates immune-boosting T-cells called immune checkpoint inhibitors. Initial preclinical results showed a complete elimination of breast cancer tumors in 50 percent of subjects treated with the combination of ibrutinib and immune checkpoint inhibitors. The team will now conduct a small pilot human study to confirm these results in patients with metastatic solid tumors receiving the immunotherapy with an immune checkpoint inhibitor called nivolumab.

Investigator: Robert Wesolowski, MD, OSUCCC – James Translational Therapeutics Research Program

Immunotherapy to Treat Patients With Acute Myeloid Leukemia

This grant will provide expanded support for two ongoing clinical trials in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer that occurs in more than 62,000 people annually and affects the blood-forming cells in the marrow. The trials explore the combination of a more tolerable anti-leukemia drug, decitabine (DAC) given with a new targeted antibody, which has been shown in preclinical testing to improve the immune system’s natural ability to recognize and eradicate cancer cells. This grant will help conduct studies to launch future studies combining decitabine and cellular therapies.

Investigator: Sumithira Vasu, MBBS, OSUCCC – James Translational Leukemia Research Program

New Targeted Therapies for Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the United States, but there is currently no curative treatment available certain for patients with certain subsets of the disease that have spread to other parts of the body. OSUCCC – James researchers have shown that two different targeted therapies – given alone or in combination – are effective for treating a subset of advanced papillary thyroid cancer patients with BRAF gene mutations. This grant will fund detailed evaluation of patient tumors and blood to learn how cancer cells become resistant, which will guide additional research to increase long-term positive effects of treatment.

Investigators: Manisha Shah, MD, OSUCCC – James Translational Therapeutics Research Program, and Cynthia Timmers, PhD, Solid Tumor Translational Science Shared Resource

Combining Radiation and Immunotherapy to Treat Brain Tumors

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary adult cancer affecting the central nervous system and treatment outcomes are very poor. Scientists believe that there are a variety of mechanisms that prevent the immune system from successfully eradicating these tumors. In this project, researchers will test the effectiveness of radiation with immune modulating treatments in a clinical model to identify potential ideal combination therapeutic strategies. Results from this research may lead to an optimal approach in translating these findings to human clinical trials.

Investigator: Raju Raval, MD, DPhil, OSUCCC – James Translational Therapeutics Research Program

Understanding Genetic Predisposition to Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Differences in a person’s DNA make each person unique. These differences can also make individuals more susceptible to developing diseases like cancer. This study is aimed at discovering genetic differences that exist in the general (non-cancer patient) population that make people more susceptible to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This information will help scientists better understand inherited risk of the disease to improve overall understanding of biologic causes of leukemia and inform future clinical practice.

Investigator: Clara Bloomfield, MD, OSUCCC – James Leukemia Research Program, and Albert de la Chapelle, MD, PhD, Molecular Biology and Cancer Genetics Research Program

Pelotonia 2017 will take place Aug. 4-6, 2017. Registration and more information are available at To learn about other Pelotonia-funded research at the OSUCCC – James, visit

About the OSUCCC – James

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of 48 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only a few centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. As the cancer program’s 308-bed adult patient-care component, The James is one of the top cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report and has achieved Magnet designation, the highest honor an organization can receive for quality patient care and professional nursing practice. With 21 floors and more than 1.1 million square feet, The James is a transformational facility that fosters collaboration and integration of cancer research and clinical cancer care. For more information, visit

Staff Reports