Two Jupiter scientists win $3.3 million for breast cancer research


Two scientists from Scripps Florida in Jupiter won up to $3.3 million to create the next generation of breast cancer treatments for the thousands of patients whose treatment options are limited.

Ben Shen, co-chairman of the Department of Chemistry, and Christoph Rader, an associate professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, will co-lead the new five-year study, Scripps Florida said Tuesday. The grant was awarded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

“The researchers aim to develop a potent type of therapy known as an antibody-drug conjugate” Scripps says in a news release. “This new class of anti-cancer drugs combines the specificity of antibodies, which attack only cells they recognize, with a highly toxic payload designed to kill specific cancer cells with far greater efficiency than most currently available treatments.”

Top 5 data dive: Florida’s top research organizations

Scripps Florida's lab in Jupter
Scripps Florida’s lab in Jupter

Florida researchers brought in a record $521 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health this year, topping the state’s previous high of $502 million in 2012.

The top five organizations, based on grants for the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30:

$28.4 million: H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center

The Tampa institute’s NIH grants were down 1 percent this year, mirroring the national decline.

$35.9 million: Scripps Florida

The Jupiter lab kicked of Florida’s biotech binge. Its grants dipped 4 percent last year but jumped 24 percent this year.

$95.7 million: University of South Florida

USF’s new focus on recruiting NIH-funded scientists has caused its NIH funding to triple in just three years.

$107.1 million: University of Miami

UM long has been near the top of the Florida list.

$132.6 million: University of Florida 

UF’s NIH grants were up 2 percent this year, solidifying its top spot in the Sunshine State.

See an interactive graphic here: