Research Grants

Collaboration is essential to the success of any research program. The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation chooses grant recipients carefully to ensure that they will build working relationships between researchers, institutions, and industry and share information, samples, and expertise with others in the field.

Research Fellowship Program

In 2015, the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation launched its first Research Fellowship Program.  The goal is to raise awareness about cholangiocarcinoma and inspire innovative, quality research.  The grants are being named in memory of 3 courageous individuals whose lives were cut too short by this devastating disease.

  • Andrea M. Fuquay Memorial Fellowship
  • Andrea Scott Memorial Fellowship
  • Christopher J. Wilke Memorial Fellowship

Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation Research Philosophy

Our objective is finding a cure.   researchThis gives us a different perspective and informs our philosophy. We believe a cure relies on:

  • Research that provides essential resources and knowledge for the field (e.g. model systems, understanding genetic underpinnings, annotated patient specimens)
  • Innovative research that opens new pathways for diagnosis and drug discovery

We want our research dollars to make a difference

  • We support promising projects that are less likely to get traditional funding such as:
    • Seed funding that could yield breakthrough benefits for patients
    • High quality projects proposed by young investigators with demonstrated commitment to cholangiocarcinoma research
    • Foundational projects with an important but long-term payoff
  • Our research dollars should never substitute for or displace other funding (i.e. preference for new projects over existing well-funded efforts)
  • We prioritize proposals that aim on finding a cure

We believe we can find a cure together

  • We value research that involves and catalyzes collaboration
  • We value open-access research (rapid sharing of reagents and models with the research community)

Our goal is a rigorous, yet efficient, process to find and fund high quality projects

  • For rigor, all proposals must undergo a comprehensive peer-review
  • For efficiency, proposals need only provide sufficient detail to facilitate a peer-review

Apply Now for a Research Fellowship in Cholangiocarcinoma

Application Deadline: April 1, 2015

Funding Term: One-Year

Amount: Total amount to be awarded is $200,000.  The Review Committee will determine the award amount based on the merit of each application.

IHNBInternational Hepatobiliary Neoplasia Biorepository

Term and Amount:
2014: $25,000
2013: $41,607
2012: $40,000

Researcher: Lewis Roberts, MD Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Purpose: To accelerate research for early diagnosis, novel therapeutics, personalized oncology, and improved clinical outcomes for patients


lroberts“Families can provide very powerful information on genetic variations that confer risk for cancer and the information is usually transferable to the general population as well.  If there is a way to obtain DNA from as many family members as possible, both affected and unaffected, this would substantially enhance our research efforts.”

Dr. Lewis Roberts
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

  • To develop a resource bank of clinical information and biospecimens from persons having or at risk for hepatobiliary cancers, including family members of patients
  • To create a unique resource to enable future biomarker discovery and validation studies
  • To partner with researchers from other institutions by sharing biospecimens and data for collaborative research efforts which are critical to advancing the field of cholangiocarcinoma
  • To actively enroll fifteen centers into the study by the end of 2015

Download the IHNB Brochure

The International Hepatobiliary Neoplasia Registry and Biorepository (IHNB) is a collaboration between Mayo Clinic, The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, and multiple academic medical centers.

Participating Institutions include:

Mayo Clinic: Arizona
Principal Investigator: Dr. Mitesh Borad

Mayo Clinic: Jacksonville
Principal Investigator: Dr. Tushar Patel

Mayo Clinic: Rochester
Principal Investigator: Dr. Lewis Roberts

Liver Associates of Texas
Principal Investigator: Dr. Victor Ankoma-Sey

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Principal Investigator: Dr. R. Kate Kelly

Virginia Piper Cancer Inst., Allina Health System
Principal Investigator: Dr. Srinevas Reddy


Targeting BAP1 in Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

mjavle“Our grant will explore cholangiocarcinoma cases that have BAP1 mutations with tumor spread to the bones and poor survival. We will examine the clinical course and outcome of these cases and also develop a mouse model that can be used for clinical studies of new drugs. We hope that through these experiments we get a better understanding of this group of cholangiocarcinoma patients and can identify better therapies.”

Dr. Milind Javle,
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Term and Amount:
2014-2015: $50,000

Milind Javle, MD
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Purpose: To identify molecular subgroups of cholangiocarcinoma


  • Estimate the frequency of BAP1 mutations in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma
  • Examine BAP1 and other genes in cholangiocarcinoma to link with diagnosis and patient outcomes
  • Develop a mouse model of BAP1 cholangiocarcinoma that can be used for further study


Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)

2014: $80,000

Researcher: Lewis Roberts, MD Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

A genome-wide association study is an approach that involves rapidly scanning markers across the complete sets of DNA, or genomes, of many people to find genetic variations associated with a particular disease. Once new genetic associations are identified, researchers can use the information to develop better strategies to detect, treat and prevent the disease. Such studies are particularly useful in finding genetic variations that contribute to common, complex diseases, such as asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and mental illnesses.

To accelerate research through the power of combining large amounts of data about genetic variations


  • To advance understanding of factors that influence health and disease by helping scientists uncover associations between individuals and disorders that are passed from one generation to the next
  • To determine an individual's risk of developing a particular disorder.
  • To help prioritize genes or genomic regions for further investigation

Learn more


Second-Line Chemotherapy in Advanced Biliary Tract Cancers: A Retrospective, Multicenter Analysis of Outcomes

Term and Amount:
2015-2016: $ 38,825

Researchers and Collaborating Institutions:
R. Kate (Katie) Kelley, M.D. - UCSF-Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Maeve Lowery, M.D. - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Laura Williams Goff, M.D. - Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


  • To study outcomes for cholangiocarcinoma patients who did not respond to standard regimen of gemcitabine plus cisplatin
  • To design future chemotherapy trials for cholangiocarcinoma at multiple institutions





"This team and project arose from the first CCF Annual Conference in Utah in February 2014. We are extremely excited to initiate this important analysis to guide upcoming clinical trials of novel agents in cholangiocarcinoma, an enormous unmet clinical need in oncology. We all would like to express our deep appreciation to the CCF for fostering our collaboration and supporting this important work."

R. Kate (Katie) Kelley, M.D.
UCSF-Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Young Investigator Award


The Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Young Investigator Award (YIA) provides funding to promising investigators to encourage and promote quality research in clinical oncology. The purpose of this award is to fund physicians during the transition from a fellowship program to a faculty appointment. The Young Investigator Award is intended to support proposals with a clinical research focus on cholangiocarcinoma.


Award: 2012-2013: $60,000 American Society of Clinical Oncology

Researcher: Supriya Saha, MD, PhD Massachusetts General Hospital

Aim: To raise awareness and trigger progress against cholangiocarcinoma, while providing critical early funding for physician-scientists at the beginning of their careers

Purpose: To develop animal models, including gene mutations, to better understand cholangiocarcinoma in humans

Goal: To publish findings to promote interest in scientific community and encourage investigators to focus their careers on bile duct cancer

 “Even though thousands of new patients are diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma each year in the United States alone, many patients have only heard of the disease for the first time upon diagnosis.  Unfortunately, the lack of national attention and publicity that this important disease receives means that there are only very limited funding opportunities available.  The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation is playing an absolutely critical role, not only in reversing that lack of national attention but also in funding research specifically aimed at helping patients with this diagnosis.  The Young Investigator Award that I received has been critical in making our foundational efforts possible.  With this funding, we have compiled what we believe is the largest cholangiocarcinoma cell line bank in the world and implemented a collaborative effort to generate more cell lines that have been genetically characterized.   In addition to a number of other studies, we used these funds to hire technician support which effectively doubled our research efforts and allowed us to develop and characterize a new mouse model of cholangiocarcinoma that can be used both to understand the fundamental mechanisms that cause cholangiocarcinoma but also to rapidly test novel potential therapies against this disease.   We hope that our work, funded by the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation, will have a “multiplier effect,” encouraging other scientists to focus on biliary cancers as well as other philanthropic organizations to join the cause.   In short, I am extremely grateful to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation for their absolutely critical support of our work.”   Supriya Saha, MD, PhD Massachusetts General Hospital

 “I am very grateful to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation for supporting Dr. Supriya Saha through the Young Investigator Award.  Dr. Saha is an outstanding physician-scientist who has made a deep commitment to studying cholangiocarcinoma. He has developed an impressive series of model systems that are key to solving the biological and genetic processes that go awry during the progression of this cancer type. Dr. Saha has already made important insights into one of the major gene mutations found in cholangiocarcinoma patients.  With these insights and model systems in hand, he is poised to make the important next step of defining ways to combat this terrible disease. The support from the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation has been vital in helping him to create this impressive program.” Dr. Nabeel Bardeesy Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center


Award: 2011-2012: $57,500 American Society of Clinical Oncology Rocha,Flavio

Researcher: Flavio G. Rocha, MD, FACS Virginia Mason Medical Center

Aim: To raise awareness and trigger progress against cholangiocarcinoma, while providing critical early funding for physician-scientists at the beginning of their careers


  • To identify biomarkers (CEACAM6 ) that can be used for diagnosis, prognosis and as potential targets for the development of novel therapies
  • To collect fluid from bile ducts to compare the levels of tumor markers and their association with presence and extent of cholangiocarcinoma


  • To help place patients in the appropriate clinical trials.
  • To design better imaging tools
  • To develop new drugs to kill cancer cells

 “As a surgical oncology fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, I became interested in the surgical management of cholangiocarcinoma but was discouraged by the minority of patients I could help with an operation. I realized that early detection is critical and that current diagnostic techniques were unreliable.  Therefore, I proposed to study proteins in the bile of patients with cholangiocarcinoma to identify novel tumor biomarkers.  With funding from an ASCO Young Investigator Award, I established a bile bank.   Upon moving to a faculty position at Virginia Mason, we identified a protein, CEACAM6, is secreted in significant quantities in the bile of cholangiocarcinoma patients compared to those with benign biliary disease.  It is currently being investigated as a tumor biomarker in a prospective clinical trial.  I was absolutely thrilled to develop a research idea from the laboratory to clinical application.  I am indebted to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation for providing me with the initial support to launch my academic career and help find better treatments for cholangiocarcinoma patients.” Flavio G. Rocha, MD, FACS Virginia Mason Medical Center


Long-term International Fellowship (LIFe)

2011-2012: $60,000

Dr. Suebpong Tanasanvimon
University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center

To determine differences in genetic profiles due to the presence of liver fluke

To use microRNA expression patterns to investigate their relevance in cancer therapy and prognosis

To further the understanding of the etiology of cholangiocarcinoma