Our Research Efforts

Together, we can improve the lives of those affected by rare cancers through the support of basic research, discovery, and clinical efforts.


During the last two decades, remarkable progress has been made in the molecular characterization of cancer, leading to therapeutic treatments that are becoming increasingly personalized to the unique profile of a patient’s tumor. Most of this progress has been applied to common cancers due to the increased attention and funding given to them.

We believe there is a cost-efficient opportunity to translate these advances to rare cancers. Advised by some of the nation’s leading cancer experts, the Katie Moore Foundation will seek to expand the scientific understanding of rare cancers and the set of clinical approaches available for treating them effectively.

The Katie Urbanic Moore Fund


As partners with the Broad Institute, we are playing a key role in efforts to revolutionize the study and treatment of rare cancers. Although rare cancers are different diseases, many of the initial logistical and technological bottlenecks that stymie progress are similar. The Katie Urbanic Moore Fund at the Broad Institute seeks to overcome these challenges by establishing a research platform that, when systematically applied, will crack open each rare cancer type and empower researchers around the globe who study these diseases.

The research platform includes several key components:

First, we partner directly with patients with rare cancers. Through a simple and clear online interface, these patients can provide consent to take part in these studies and share their medical records and saliva and tumor samples with researchers. We perform genomic analysis on each tumor sample to identify the genetic changes underlying the cancer—and potential targets for therapy.

Next, we tap into a robust process that already exists at the Broad Institute to turn patient samples into cell lines—a laboratory-based model system genetically identical to patient tumors.

Finally, we map all ways to kill each rare cancer in the laboratory using the breakthrough CRISPR genomic editing technology and a best-in-class collection of drugs that are known to be safe in people. All of our cell lines and the data we generate with them are shared with researchers worldwide to further catalyze progress in understanding and treatment of rare cancers.

The Broad Institute has already pioneered these approaches in more common cancers and we are thrilled to be a part of these efforts in rare cancers as well. We hope that these pilot efforts will lead not only to raising awareness about these rare cancers, but also to a new paradigm for partnering with patients in making progress against rare cancers.

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