Colin Champ, MD, CSCS, has received a donation of $300,000 from the Marie McCandless Foundation to fund nutrition and cancer research.
Marie McCandless passed away from complications of metastatic lung cancer in 2016. Her son, Mike McCandless, an entrepreneur in the nutrition and supplements field, created the Marie McCandless Foundation in his mother’s honor and regularly funds research exploring the connection between nutrition and cancer.
Mike and Dr. Champ met in November 2014, when Dr. Champ (then working at the University of Pittsburgh) gave a lecture on the ketogenic diet and cancer at The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. The two got into a conversation over dinner about the lack of funding available for nutrition studies; over the years, they kept in touch. When Dr. Champ began working at Duke in 2019, Mike reached out to explore possible ways to contribute and settled on donating $300,000 to fund Dr. Champ’s cancer and nutrition research.
"Mike is a generous and kind-hearted person," said Dr. Champ. "I was lucky enough to meet him years back, but for everything to come full circle like this at Duke is a bit surreal."
With the funding, researchers in the lab of Yvonne Mowery, MD, PhD, will be testing an agent in pill form that mimics a ketogenic diet as a way of fighting cancer cachexia in a mouse model. The hope is that this work can segue into the clinic, to provide benefit in Duke Cancer Institute patients at risk for cachexia.
"In a field dominated by pharmaceutical trials, there are few resources or dedicated funds allocated toward nutrition research," said Dr. Champ. "Through this philanthropic donation, we have the opportunity to answer many vital questions on how nutrition interacts with cancer treatment and outcomes."