2019 Allocation Landing Page Hero

Cycle for Survival fights back against rare cancers with 100% of every dollar. Funding Memorial Sloan Kettering’s clinical trials, research, and technology development leads to new drugs, less toxic treatments, and lives saved.


Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma
Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma
Appendix Cancer
Bladder Cancer
Blood Cancer
Brain Cancer
CIC-DUX4 Sarcoma
Endometrial Cancer
Esophageal Cancer

Ewing Sarcoma
Gallbladder Cancer
Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GIST)
Germ Cell Tumors
Kidney Cancer
Liver Cancer

Merkel Cell Carcinoma
Multiple Myeloma
Ovarian Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors
Stomach Cancer
Thyroid Cancer


Research Success Stories

Since 2007, Cycle for Survival has been advancing and elevating rare cancer research. Watch this video to hear from Memorial Sloan Kettering doctors about the substantial progress that’s been made thanks to your support.

Watch the video 

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"I’m an engineer, and I came to MSK six years ago with a dream to make new technologies. With a grant from Cycle for Survival, we found a nanoparticle that can deliver cancer drugs directly to a pediatric brain tumor. This was a catalyst to find ways to treat all types of brain cancers, including cancer that spreads to the brain. That seed funding from Cycle for Survival sparked something extraordinary."

Daniel Heller, PhD

Head, Cancer Nanomedicine Laboratory

Equinox Innovation Initiative

Equinox Innovation Initiative 

The Equinox Innovation Initiative—named in honor of Cycle for Survival’s longtime founding partner—fuels game-changing research that embodies the innovative spirit of Equinox.

These coveted grants and projects are awarded to MSK physicians and scientists annually through a highly competitive process that enables them to pursue cutting-edge research with speed and agility.

In addition to the grants, translational research programs focused on metastasis, cell biology, cell engineering, brain tumors, and immunotherapy will be funded to support leading experts at MSK, including Dr. Robert Benezra, Dr. Kristian Helin, Dr. Luis Parada, Dr. John Petrini, Dr. Michel Sadelain, and Dr. David Scheinberg.

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"We can’t settle for the standard of care. We need to innovate and offer more. Patient by patient, disease by disease, we are here to move the field forward. Memorial Sloan Kettering now has one of the largest sarcoma immunotherapy programs in the world thanks to Cycle for Survival. You should be tremendously proud. What you’re doing is really affecting the course of rare cancer research today, tomorrow, forever."

Sandra D’Angelo, MD

Medical Oncologist

2019 Research Programs

2019 Research Programs

MSK is on the frontline of the battle against rare cancers. Cycle for Survival is proud to support the advancement of comprehensive initiatives at MSK, spanning many critical areas of research.

Building on the groundbreaking discoveries made in blood cancer research over the past decade, Cycle for Survival is fueling new treatment investigations at The Center for Hematologic Malignancies (CHM)—where MSK’s world-renowned laboratory scientists are working with clinical investigators to make promising treatment options a reality for people with blood cancers.

Drawing from various areas of expertise, CHM is an MSK-wide collaboration that brings therapies to patients faster than ever before—making unparalleled progress in leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and stem cell transplantation. The team, led by physician-scientist Dr. Ross Levine, is conducting laboratory research and clinical trials aimed to improve outcomes for patients with blood cancers. At the heart of this research are detailed molecular studies of all patients treated for blood cancers at MSK, and state-of-the-art studies looking into targeted and immune-based treatment approaches for blood cancers. Cycle for Survival is providing the necessary funding for this work which will inform new treatments for blood cancer patients everywhere.

Cycle for Survival is a major supporter of the groundbreaking work of the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology. The genomic discoveries uncovered through this revolutionary program provide answers—and fresh hope—to countless people with rare cancers.

Today, doctors target cancer cells more precisely than ever before, and work is underway to continuously improve this approach. The results of MSK-IMPACT sequencing, a technology invented at MSK—and the first such test to receive FDA authorization—can guide treatment decisions by identifying which genetic mutations are causing a person’s cancer. For patients battling rare diseases, this information can point to previously unconsidered mutation-targeted treatment options that result in dramatic tumor regressions or even wipe out the disease. Among the leaders of this endeavor are Drs. David Solit, Marc Ladanyi, and Michael Berger. Cycle for Survival’s investment in this dynamic effort has been vital to its success and momentum: MSK just surpassed 45,000 tumors sequenced since 2014.

When diagnosed with cancer, patients often ask, “What caused my disease?” and “How can we beat it?” Cycle for Survival is fueling MSK’s computational oncology program: using the institution’s unique abundance of data to uncover the answers, guide treatment, and change the lives of people battling rare cancers.

MSK's Chief of Computational Oncology Dr. Sohrab Shah is leading a new initiative to harness MSK’s vast clinical and molecular data resources, gathered over time, to predict how cancers respond to different treatments. These data assets have enduring research and clinical value that is currently untapped. Cycle for Survival is supporting MSK’s research into the development of machine learning and AI-driven systems capable of synthesizing information locked away in separate diagnostics into unified predictive tools. This approach—drawing on insights from radiology, pathology, genomics and other areas—has great potential to improve patient care, both by identifying mechanisms in specific cancers that routinely lead to treatment failure, as well as improving our understanding of therapeutic response.

The Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) is MSK’s hallmark translational research program: a collaborative hub that bridges discoveries made in the lab with clinical research, leading to new and improved treatments for cancer. Cycle for Survival support has been vital to the success of this multi-disciplinary initiative—much to the benefit of patients with rare cancers.

By bringing together a brilliant collective of MSK physicians and scientists who have one foot in the laboratory and the other in the clinic, HOPP serves as a unique and rapid incubator for innovative cancer-fighting strategies. Led by Dr. Charles Sawyers, the program focuses on developing novel cancer therapies, often for people with malignancies that lack effective treatments or standards of care. Cycle for Survival has been a proud, longstanding partner of this renowned program, fueling paradigm-changing research that has reshaped how rare cancers are understood and treated. HOPP researchers are among the world’s foremost experts in oncology and their findings impact the lives of patients everywhere.

For more than a century, MSK has set the pace in immunotherapy, using the immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells, and Cycle for Survival’s support continues to propel the science forward.

Today CAR T cell therapy and checkpoint inhibitors—pioneering therapies first developed by MSK scientists—are helping to improve the lives of patients everywhere with advanced blood, lung, kidney, bladder, head and neck, and other cancers. While these drugs are changing the way many cancers are treated, there is still much work to be done: they do not work for all cancers, they have side effects, and some patients who initially respond well eventually develop resistance to treatment. Led by Dr. Jedd Wolchok, MSK physician-scientists are taking aim at these problems with the overall goal of making immunotherapy stronger and more effective, as well as to identify the patients who will benefit most from a particular type of therapy. They are also working every day to develop new approaches—including innovative combination therapy, cancer vaccines, laboratory-engineered antibodies, and the use of tiny “nanoparticles” to deliver drug therapies—that have the potential to increase the effectiveness of these treatments.

Traditional surgical biopsies can be invasive and aren’t always comprehensive. With funding from Cycle for Survival, MSK researchers have harnessed the power of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) to create MSK-ACCESS, a revolutionary liquid biopsy test that provides noninvasive genomic profiling and disease monitoring using the deep-sequencing of 129 cancer-associated genes.

Human cells, including cancer cells, can shed DNA into the bloodstream and other bodily fluids, and with a simple blood draw, this test—developed by Dr. Michael Berger and his colleagues in MSK’s Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology and Department of Pathology with major support from Cycle for Survival—provides a unique, noninvasive way to both profile the genes that cause cancer and guide treatment decisions. MSK-ACCESS is impacting the study of all cancers at MSK, but may be especially life-changing for people with rare cancers who don’t have tumor tissue available or who have cancers that are difficult to biopsy. It can also help to determine the need for additional treatment post-surgery, and may open new doors for people with rare cancers by identifying new or relapsed cancer early and flagging drug resistance as soon as it begins to occur—providing an opportunity to pivot the treatment strategy before disease progresses.

The Neuro-Oncology Research Translation in Humans (NORTH) Program aims to accelerate brain cancer research and the next generation of treatments for both adult and pediatric brain tumors. Cycle for Survival support plays a central role in the program’s ability to bring emerging concepts and scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the patients who need them.

Working in close collaboration with MSK’s Brain Tumor Center, the NORTH Program is pursuing a series of leading-edge research initiatives designed to expand brain cancer research and the development of new therapies for primary and metastatic brain tumors. Because progress in brain tumor-related drug development has been slow, efforts to speed up the process of turning discoveries made in the lab into lifesaving treatment options are crucial, and Cycle for Survival is proud to provide key funding to support brain tumor drug discovery. Dr. Ingo Mellinghoff is leading a series of projects—from studying potential biomarkers that could predict tumor reoccurrence earlier than ever before, to matching tumor DNA found in a patient’s cerebral spinal fluid using a tumor’s genetic profile—with each one delivering new insights into how to better determine treatment decisions in the future.

By 2020, pancreatic cancer is projected to become the nation’s second leading cause of cancer death. This aggressive disease rarely causes symptoms at first—making it a challenge to detect in its early stages—and is often caught only once it metastasizes and becomes inoperable. Cycle for Survival is fighting back by supporting the expansion of genomic analysis to pinpoint the drivers and reveal the vulnerabilities of this devastating disease.

The mission of the David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research is to pursue groundbreaking research focused on early detection methods, prevention, immunotherapy strategies, and genetic sequencing of this complex and challenging disease. As Director of the Center, Dr. Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue brings together a multidisciplinary team of scientists and physicians to translate the discoveries made in the laboratory into more targeted treatments for patients. Cycle for Survival is playing a key role in this ambitious initiative by helping to launch the TOPCOAT initiative (Tracking of Pancreatic Cancer Progression and Resistance) that aims to guide care management based on studying patient over the course of their treatment. The Center continues to pioneer patient specific cancer models for personalized medicine, as well as studying DNA and RNA changes in pancreatic cancer cells that cause resistance to chemotherapy.

Biobanking is an innovative, science-driven process that delivers on the promise of precision medicine: to make informed treatment decisions based on the molecular analyses of a patient’s disease. For people with rare cancers, there can be few opportunities to better understand their conditions because clinical trials are often limited or don’t exist. Researchers at the Precision Pathology Biobanking Center (PPBC) are working to change that by collecting and evaluating every patient’s tumor to provide more insight.

MSK established precision pathology to serve as a hub for collecting, analyzing, and cataloguing patient samples, a process designed to build insight and develop more tailored treatments. Led by Dr. Michael Roehrl, the PPBC team is constructing the premier archive of human tissue samples with the ultimate goal of mapping out and tracking how cancer-causing molecular changes influence disease progression. Taking the next leap beyond genomics, the PPBC is developing new technologies, including a cutting-edge approach to proteomics, the global study of the proteins that makeup the molecular machinery of human cells. This allows researchers to identify changes across multiple cancer types—revealing how primary tumors grow and metastasize. Cycle for Survival funding is making it possible for researchers to design and implement clinical studies that use this data, especially for basket trials, a precision medicine approach that targets molecular changes regardless of the patient’s cancer type.

The Jennifer Goodman Linn Laboratory of New Drug Development in Sarcoma and Rare Cancers at MSK—named in honor of Cycle for Survival’s founder—is a powerful symbol of the movement’s commitment to defeat every form of sarcoma. Cycle for Survival support has also empowered MSK’s Sarcoma Medical Oncology Service team to drive research forward with unprecedented speed.

The Sarcoma Medical Oncology Service, led by Dr. William Tap, works tirelessly to improve outcomes for patients. Cycle for Survival has given MSK’s physician-scientists the resources to build one of the world’s largest and most productive programs dedicated to sarcoma, rapidly growing an arsenal of research programs and options to combat the 70+ complex types of the disease. This includes more than 20 clinical trials at a time to test novel strategies against these malignancies. Scientists are also studying ways to manipulate how drugs work and predict if a therapy will be effective for a patient before it’s even prescribed. Cycle for Survival’s backing has cemented MSK’s worldwide reputation in sarcoma research.

Sloan Kettering Institute (SKI) was founded in 1945 to develop new techniques to conquer cancer. Today, SKI’s laboratories operate as the crucial experimental research arm of MSK: advancing science to help cancer patients worldwide.

Directed by Dr. Joan Massagué, SKI represents the very best of scientific inquiry. Spanning nine research programs, its staff of more than 100 laboratory investigators, 400 fellows, and 300 graduate students works together toward SKI’s collective mission: devising better ways to combat cancer.

As a result, MSK ranks as one of the world’s top academic institutions in producing FDA-approved drugs for cancer treatment. Cycle for Survival’s longtime support for SKI has propelled innovation, advanced sophisticated technologies, and bolstered infrastructure in profound ways. This year’s funding will be directed to key strategic initiatives: furthering scientists’ ability to turn ideas once considered impossible into meaningful breakthroughs for patients battling rare cancer.

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"I’ve been fortunate to receive a Cycle for Survival grant. As an orthopedic surgeon, the research we focus on is regenerating bone affected by cancer. It can be regrown back to normal, healthy bone using revolutionary new techniques. This can make all the difference in offering kids a life without physical limitations. The money that goes into research at Memorial Sloan Kettering helps people across the country."

Daniel Prince, MD, MPH


Select Projects

Dr. Ghassan Abou-Alfa
Gastrointestinal Oncology Service
Gastrointestinal Cancer

Dr. David Abramson
Chief, Ophthalmic Oncology Service

Dr. Nadeem Abu-Rustum
Chief, Gynecology Service
Uterine Cancer

Dr. Cristina Antonescu
Director, Bone and Soft Tissue Pathology
Angiosarcoma; Rhabdomyosarcoma

Dr. Mary Baylies
Developmental Biology Program

Dr. Bernard Bochner
Urology Service
Bladder Cancer

Dr. Nai-Kong Cheung
Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Dennis Chi
Deputy Chief, Gynecology Service
Ovarian Cancer

Dr. Daniel Coit
Gastric and Mixed Tumor Service
Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Dr. Joseph Dayan
Reconstructive Surgical Service

Dr. Lisa DeAngelis
Brain Cancer

Dr. Mark Dickson
Sarcoma Service

Dr. Ira Dunkel
Department of Pediatrics
Pediatric Brain Cancer

Dr. Joseph Erinjeri
Interventional Radiology Service
Interventional Radiology

Dr. Darren Feldman
Genitourinary Oncology Service
Testicular Cancer; Germ Cell Tumors

Dr. Mrinal Gounder
Sarcoma Medical Oncology Service

Dr. Rachel Grisham
Gynecologic Medical Oncology Service
Ovarian Cancer

Dr. James Harding
Gastrointestinal Oncology Service
Gastrointestinal Cancers

Dr. Martee Hensley
Gynecologic Medical Oncology Service
Gynecologic Sarcoma

Dr. Alan Ho
Head and Neck Oncology Service
Head and Neck Cancers; Thyroid Cancer

Dr. Andrew Intlekofer
Lymphoma Service
Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Dr. William Jarnagin
Chief, Hepatopancreatobiliary Service
Gallbladder Cancer; Cholangiocarcinoma

Dr. Matthias Karajannis
Chief, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Service
Pediatric Brain Cancer

Dr. Yasmin Khakoo
Director, Child Neurology Program
Pediatric Brain Cancer

T. Peter Kingham
Hepatopancreatobiliary Service
Hepatobiliary Cancers

Dr. Virginia Klimek
Leukemia Service
Blood Cancer

Dr. Jason Konner
Gynecologic Medical Oncology Service
Ovarian Cancer

Dr. Andrew Kung
Chair, Department of Pediatrics
Pediatric Cancers

Dr. Brian Kushner
Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Michael La Quaglia
Chief, Pediatric Surgical Service

Dr. Vicky Makker
Gynecologic Medical Oncology Service
Gynecologic Cancers

Dr. Paul Meyers
Department of Pediatrics
Sarcoma; Rhabdomyosarcoma

Shakeel Modak
Chief, Neuroblastoma Service

Dr. Garrett Nash
Department of Surgery

Dr. Kenneth Offit
Chief, Clinical Genetics Service
Cancer Genomics

Dr. Luis Parada
Director, Brain Tumor Center
Brain Cancer

Dr. Michael Postow
Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service

Dr. Diane Reidy Lagunes
Gastrointestinal Oncology Service
Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors; Adrenocortical Carcinoma

Dr. Jorge Reis-Filho
Chief, Experimental Pathology Service
Cancer Genomics

Dr. Jonathan Rosenberg
Chief, Genitourinary Medical Oncology Service
Bladder Cancer; Kidney Cancer

Dr. Alexander Rudensky
Director, Ludwig Center for Cancer Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy Research

Dr. Neerav Shukla
Department of Pediatrics
Pediatric Blood Cancer

Dr. Samuel Singer
Chief, Gastric and Mixed Tumor Service

Dr. Emily Slotkin
Department of Pediatrics
Pediatric Sarcoma

Dr. David Solit
Director, CMO; Make An Impact
DNA Sequencing

Dr. Stephen Solomon
Chief, Interventional Radiology Service
Interventional Radiology

Dr. Maria Sulis
Chief, Pediatric Hematologic Malignancies Service
Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Dr. Tanya Trippett
Department of Pediatrics
Pediatric Blood Cancer

Dr. Leonard Wexler
Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Suzanne Wolden
Department of Pediatrics
Pediatric Brain Cancer

December Challenge

The December Challenge:

Cycle for Survival’s December Challenge raised over $2 million to power progress and accelerate discoveries in rare cancer research with $1 million going to organoids—mini 3D versions of a patient’s tumor created in a lab to test drug effectiveness and help predict their response to treatment. Although organoids are about the size of a poppy seed, they mimic the complex genetic characteristics and function of organs, making them ideal for testing. This approach to precision medicine can accelerate the discovery of more effective treatment options for people facing a variety of cancers.

Every participant who donated and received donations from five donors during the month of December had their name displayed in the lab where Cycle for Survival funding is powering new discoveries.

2019 Recap - December Challenge
2020 Registration Launch Hero