American Thyroid Association Awards Research Grant to Irene M. Min, Ph.D., Weill Cornell Medical College

Irene Min, M.D. Supported by Bite Me Cancer and ATA

Irene Min, M.D. is the recipient of the 2016 American Thyroid Association (ATA) Bite Me Cancer Grant. Dr. Min, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, submitted the winning project entitled “Application of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cell Therapy in Aggressive Thyroid Cancer.” Immunotherapy using T-cell engineered to express chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) specific to tumor-associated cell surface antigen is a promising new approach to stimulate the body’s own defenses to recognize and destroy cancer cells. It has shown impressive clinical outcomes in hematologic cancers and recently in preclinical applications in solid tumors.

Dr. Min is using CAR-T immunotherapy to target intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), and preliminary results have shown strong and specific destruction of PTC and ATC cells in vitro and in mice. In the proposed study she will evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of ICAM-1-based CAR-T immunotherapy against ATC combined with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib or an immune checkpoint inhibitor in vitro and in mice. Adjuvant therapies that target the tumor microenvironment will likely be needed to boost the efficacy of CAR-T immunotherapy against solid tumors in humans. Bio

Dr. Motoyasu Saji, Chair, ATA Research Committee says, “The ATA research grant program has been supporting young scientists in various thyroid-related research areas, including clinical, translational, and basic areas, over many years. Every year we receive more than 50 Grant applications from North America and countries around the world. We are excited to see young thyroid researchers, who attack current clinical problems and basic scientific questions using state of the art technologies, new ideas, and new views. Many current leaders in the ATA were award recipients, showing the long-lasting importance of the research grant program. The ATA views the grant program as a gateway to a career in thyroid research and further engagement with the ATA. Finally, we appreciate the generous support from members and cancer survivors, making possible the continuation of this excellent program.”

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has awarded 85 thyroid research grants totaling over $2.2 million since the inception of the Research Fund. In addition, the ATA rigorously manages the selection of research projects and distribution of over $1.8 million generously donated to the ATA specifically for research grants from ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc., Bite Me Cancer and Thyroid Head and Neck Cancer Foundation. For information on other research grants underway and funded by the ATA, see

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. (ThyCa) has provided funding in support of 60 special research grants totaling $1,680,000 focused on thyroid cancer and medullary thyroid cancer since 2003. ThyCa is supporting three research grants in 2016 and three renewing grants. ThyCa is a member of the ATA Alliance for Patient Education. Find out more at

Bite Me Cancer (BMC) is our newest grant funder supporting five thyroid cancer grants since 2014 for a total of $143,750. BMC will be supporting a new thyroid cancer grant in 2016 and one renewing grant. BMC is a member of the ATA Alliance for Patient Education. Find out more at


The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international individual membership organization for over 1,700 clinicians and researchers from 43 countries around the world, representing a broad diversity of medical disciplines. It also serves the public, patients and their family through education and awareness efforts.

Celebrating its 94th anniversary, ATA delivers its mission through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded monthly journals, THYROID, Clinical Thyroidology, VideoEndocrinology and Clinical Thyroidology for the Public; annual scientific meetings; biennial clinical and research symposia; research grant programs for young investigators, support of online professional, public and patient educational programs; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease.

More information about ATA is found at