Curebound announces $6 million in grant funding

(L-R): Bill Koman, Amy Koman
(L-R): Bill Koman, Amy Koman, Cure Prize winner Rebecca Rakow-Penner MD, PhD (UCSD), Cure Prize winner Michael McHale MD (UCSD), Anne Marbarger



Grant funds will lead collaborative oncology research at six San Diego research institutions


Curebound, a San Diego-based philanthropic organization that raises and invests strategic funding in translational cancer research projects, has announced a $6 million investment in grant funding for leading oncology research in San Diego as part of its 2022-23 class of Discovery, Targeted and Cure Prize grants, according to a news release. This investment will fund 17 unique research projects spanning a broad range of collaborative, translational research across many different disciplines, institutions, types of cancer, and areas of research opportunity that are in alignment with Curebound’s five scientific pillars: Prevention and diagnostic tools; Novel approaches and new therapeutic platforms; Immunotherapies and personalized vaccines; Cancer equities; Pediatric cancers.

The Cure Prize is Curebound’s highest award for bold innovation in cancer research. The Cure Prize is awarded to teams who present collaborative solutions that show near-term promise of clinical breakthrough and represent “game changers” in the prevention, diagnosis, access, or treatment of cancer patients. Grant funding of $1 million is awarded and administered over a period of two-three years. The first Cure Prize challenge is to develop an innovation that will improve the standard of care for a typically deadly cancer with patient application in three-five years.

The 2023 Cure Prize was awarded to University of California San Diego researchers Rebecca Rakow-Penner, MD, PhD., a Carmel Valley resident; Anders Dale, PhD.; and Michael McHale, MD, a Carmel Valley resident, for their work in screening for ovarian cancer with advanced diffusion MRI in patients at high risk for ovarian cancer.

“Our project, my passion, is to develop an innovative and advanced MRI protocol specifically tailored to detecting ovarian cancer in its earliest stages,” said Rakow-Penner, MD, PhD at UC San Diego Health and Cure Prize recipient, in the news release. “By harnessing the power of cutting-edge technology, we aim to provide the information to at risk women so they can make informed decisions about their health and specifically about the very difficult decision they face with respect to prophylactic surgery. With the support of Curebound, we aim to significantly improve the outcomes for women facing this formidable challenge.”

Ovarian cancer is the fifth-most deadly cancer in women in the United States with 60% of cases already metastasized at the time of diagnosis. Multiple screening programs have been attempted, but none so far have demonstrated a survival benefit. This project intends to develop a robust screening technique, based on advanced diffusion-weighted MRI, that can non-invasively image ovarian cancers. This will decrease the need for surgical removal of ovaries from at-risk women while offering the promise of a novel screening technique for early detection and treatment for all women.

Curebound is dedicated to accelerating cancer cures by funding the most promising, innovative research to collaborative teams from six research partner institutions: Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health, Salk Institute, Sanford-Burnham Prebys, Rady Children’s Hospital, La Jolla Institute for Immunology, and Scripps Research.

To learn more about Curebound and the full list of grantees, visit