Newly Awarded Research Grant in Tennessee

The American Cancer Society, the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, has awarded one new grant for $720,000 to Sheila H. Ridner, PhD, RN, FAAN, Vanderbilt University, bringing the total number of grants in effect in Tennessee beginning January 1, 2013 to 23, totaling $9,683,000. Other Tennessee grant locations include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the University of Tennessee. These grants are among 96 national research and training grants totaling $43,808,000 to 70 institutions nationwide in the second of two grants cycles for 2012.

For more than 65 years, the American Cancer Society has funded research and training of health professionals to investigate the causes, prevention, and early detection of cancer, as well as new treatments, cancer survivorship, and end of life support for patients and their families. Since its founding in 1946, the American Cancer Society’s extramural research grants program has devoted more than $3.8 billion to cancer research and has funded 46 researchers who have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.

With the support of the American Cancer Society, researchers like Sheila H. Ridner, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, School of Nursing, Vanderbilt University, are focusing on new discoveries to help achieve the Society’s mission to save lives and end suffering from cancer. Ridner’s work centers on the breast cancer survivor suffering from lymphedema, a common condition for breast cancer survivors. Her research is aimed at discovering ways to help patients cope with the condition, and fill health care gaps in treating the condition. With this work, Ridner will pursue both a professional and a personal cause.

“I’d always wanted to research,” said Ridner. “I immersed myself in advancements in cancer treatment and symptom management. Not much was being done about lymphedema. At this same time my mother developed breast cancer and lymphedema.”

The American Cancer Society’s research and training program emphasizes investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed proposals, and has supported groundbreaking research that has led to critical discoveries leading to a better understanding of cancer and cancer treatment. Grant applications are ranked on the basis of merit by one of several discipline-specific Peer Review Committees, each of which includes 12 to 25 scientific advisors or expert reviewers. The Council for Extramural Grants, a committee of senior scientists, recommends funding based on the relative merit of the applications, the amount of available funds, and the Society's objectives. Each year, many more grant applications are approved for funding than the Society has resources to fund.

With this grant award, Ridner joins other Society funded researchers who are committed to creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays. “More birthdays means more than just someone is alive,” said Ridner. “It means more people are surviving. Birthdays are happy occasions. I am exceptionally blessed to have the funding doing this to help people.”