Hyundai GRANT RECEPIENTS

Since 1998, Hyundai Hope On Wheels has been awarding innovative research projects at COG institutions across the country. Our grant winning doctors and researchers are at the front-line of this very important battle. Meet our Scholar Hope winners of 2014 below. Clinical Grant recepieving doctors will be listed by early June. You can also review information about previous winners by year.

Dr. Gregory Aune - University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio

There is an 80% survival rate from pediatric cancer. Unfortunately, individuals that survive cancer and enter adulthood have an alarming rate of severe medical conditions, with heart disease as a significant and emerging problem in this growing population. My laboratory has developed animal models to study how cancer therapies affect the heart and lead to cardiac disease later in life. A majority of prior research has focused on how chemotherapy damages the adult heart. My laboratory is interested in how chemotherapy damages the pediatric heart as well as uncovering the mechanism by which early damage is ...

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Dr. Eveline Barbieri Dr. Eveline Barbieri - Texas Children's Hospital

High-risk neuroblastoma is an aggressive cancer found in young children and has a survival rate of less than 50%. Current treatment includes highly toxic high-dose chemotherapy, which has major long-term side effects for patients. Over the past decade, the addition of retinoic acid (a differentiation agent) has modestly improved survival by about 15-20%; yet neuroblastoma still accounts for almost 15% of all pediatric cancer deaths. My work is focused on developing novel approaches to ...

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Dr. Natalie Bezler Dr. Natalie Bezler - Connecticut Children's Medical Center

Health Literacy and Patient Outcomes after Bone Marrow Transplantation

This study proposes to investigate the role of health literacy as a predictor of clinical outcomes in an oncology population. Specifically, we propose to examine whether low health literacy is associated with negative outcomes after bone marrow transplantation, such as hospital readmission, graft-versus-host disease, and inferior survival among bone marrow transplant patients.

The Department of Health and Human ...

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Dr. Catherine Bollard Dr. Catherine Bollard - Children’s National Medical Center

Despite encouraging advancements in pediatric oncology, there are still far too many children whose lives are cut short by leukemia and lymphoma. Even stem cell transplant—often the option of last resort for children with minimally recurring disease whose cancer repeatedly returns—cannot save all of these high-risk kids. For the thirty percent of recipients who experience relapse—the most difficult chemotherapy-resistant cases—there has been little hope.

Immunotherapy is one of the most ...

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Dr. Hakan Cam Dr. Hakan Cam - Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Pediatric sarcomas are among the most aggressive cancers that strike children and teens. The most important factor influencing the survival of children with sarcomas is metastasis—the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. A child diagnosed with a sarcoma has a 70-80% chance of cure, provided they have not developed metastasis. If the tumor has spread, however, that same child will have a 70-80% chance of dying, even with aggressive therapy. Despite the importance of metastasis to ...

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Dr. Sharon Castellino Dr. Sharon Castellino - Wake Forest School of Medicine

Due to successful cancer therapy, childhood cancer survivors are entering the adult population at increasing rates. However, specific therapies that are curative also put these young adults at risk for premature cardiac and cardiovascular health issues in their lifetime. Our proposal aims to take concepts from the science of aging to study and identify cardiovascular risk in survivors a time when it is modifiable. The goal is to study chronic inflammation, as a biomarker of this in the blood may ...

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Dr. Kristina Cole Dr. Kristina Cole - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Despite very intense treatment many children with the aggressive form of neuroblastoma still die from their disease. We have previously shown that neuroblastomas are dependent on the DNA repair protein checkpoint kinase 1 (CHEK1) to handle the cellular stress caused by the MYCN oncogene, and when this protein is inhibited, the neuroblastoma cells can no longer grow and die. This effect is even greater with additional DNA damage caused by chemotherapy, and these studies have formed the rationale ...

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Dr. Nicholas K. Foreman Dr. Nicholas K. Foreman - Children’s Hospital of Colorado Foundation

Half the children with ependymoma (EPN) will relapse and chemotherapy trials in these children have failed. Based on our findings that immune factors strongly influence survival in EPN, we predict that application of immune therapy approaches will be particularly beneficial to these patients. Our studies have identified different behaviors in EPN patients’ immune cells, in particular the macrophages that are found in the tumors. Importantly different behaviors in these macrophages were shown to ...

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Dr. John Kimble Frazer Dr. John Kimble Frazer - University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Leukemias and lymphomas represent >40% of pediatric cancer, the leading disease-based killer of U.S. children. T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL) are the 3rd most common types of these cancers. To improve outcomes in these diseases, targeted therapies are needed. Targeted therapies exploit features of cancer cells not present in normal cells. As such, they work differently than standard chemotherapies, which are toxic to healthy cells also. However, ...

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Dr. Frederick Goldman Dr. Frederick Goldman - Children's Hospital of Alabama/University of Alabama at Birmingham

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common pediatric cancer, and while cure rates have improved dramatically over the past several decades, many children with high risk features or those with disease relapse do not survive. In pursuit of more effective and safer treatments for these patients, newer targeted therapies using a patient’s own immune system are being developed. On such treatment utilizes genetically engineered T cells isolated from a patient and arms them with a receptor ...

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Dr. Alexander Gozman Dr. Alexander Gozman - Albany Medical Center

Completion of cancer therapy should be a joyful event, however end-of-therapy is often as stressful as the initial diagnosis. The reasons for this are many: during therapy there is the comfort that interventions to fight the cancer are ongoing, and frequent clinic visits provide support from physicians, nurses and social workers. End-of-therapy means this reassurance is lost, often paralleled by loss of support from friends and the community who feel the patient is in remission, with no further ...

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Dr. Brandon Hadland Dr. Brandon Hadland - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Hematopoietic stem cell transplants are used to treat children with inherited disorders of the bone marrow that can lead to leukemia. Gene therapy holds the promise of improved cures for these patients by correcting defects in their own stem cells before leukemia develops, but making gene therapy a reality will require better methods to expand patient-specific stem cells outside the body so that they can be transplanted back to patients once corrected. The goal of this research is to develop ...

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Dr. Mark Hatley Dr. Mark Hatley - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue cancer in childhood. Despite rigorous clinical trials, the survival for children with high-risk rhabdomyosarcoma has not changed for three decades. The children that do survive often suffer from life-long disfigurements as a result of the aggressive treatment. Thus, there is a tremendous need for the development of novel treatment strategies for this disease. Rhabdomyosarcoma resembles developing skeletal muscle and has been speculated to originate ...

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Dr. Charles Hemenway Dr. Charles Hemenway - Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) in children remains a challenging disease to treat successfully. We have reached a treatment plateau, despite high dose chemotherapy followed by allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for high-risk AML. Relapse remains the most common cause for failure of this aggressive treatment, followed by treatment-related deaths. Yet, improved understanding of the unique biology of AML has revealed clues about potential weaknesses of AML cells that could guide new ...

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Dr. Pooja Hingorani Dr. Pooja Hingorani - Phoenix Children's Hospital

Title: Blockade of Programmed Death Receptor Pathway as a Therapeutic Strategy in Osteosarcoma

Principal Investigator: Pooja Hingorani, MD; Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Co-Principal Investigator: Joseph Blattman, PhD; Arizona State University

Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most commonly occurring bone cancer in children and adolescents, accounting for approximately 3% of all diagnosed childhood malignancies. Approximately 25-30% of OS patients develop pulmonary metastatic disease, which is ...

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Dr. Peter Kurre Dr. Peter Kurre - Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation

Leukemia is the most common cancer for children under 14 years of age. Most children present with signs of bleeding, fatigue or infection that result from their decreased blood counts and point to the progressive loss of healthy bone marrow function as leukemia cells spread. Among children who enter remission after initial treatment of the most aggressive leukemia subtype, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), half will relapse and experience the same debilitating clinical problems. The medically ...

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Dr. Lynda Kwon Beaupin Dr. Lynda Kwon Beaupin - Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo

Introducing the Consortium of AYA Cancer Centers (CAYACC)

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) describes Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) oncology patients as those who are between 15 and 39 years of age with cancer. These individuals are a special subset of oncology patients who have been recognized to have psychosocial issues, disease types, and responses to treatment that differ compared to younger and older cancer populations. This patient population has been noted to have little ...

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Dr. James LaBelle Dr. James LaBelle - University of Chicago

A paramount obstacle to personalized cancer therapy is effective modulation of the anti-tumor immune response. Accordingly, the ultimate goal of this proposal is to develop an immunomodulatory therapeutic strategy against pediatric solid tumors such as rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, and desmoplastic small round cell tumors. Although these tumors have recently been shown to be recognized by the immune system, clinically effective anti-tumor responses in pediatric patients with refractory or ...

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Dr. Theodore Laetsch Dr. Theodore Laetsch - Children's Medical Center Dallas

My goal is to develop a more effective way to treat sarcoma in children. Sarcomas are a common pediatric cancer, and while some of these tumors can be cured by surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the outcome for patients with metastatic or relapsed disease is poor. I am focusing on a novel technology called MR-HIFU for the treatment of sarcomas and other relapsed pediatric solid tumors. This technology uses a high-intensity focused ultrasound transducer built into the table of an MR scanner to ...

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Dr. Elizabeth Lawlor Dr. Elizabeth Lawlor - University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

Ewing sarcoma (ES) is a highly aggressive bone and soft tissue tumor that primarily affects children, adolescents and young adults. Although intensification of therapy has improved survival rates for patients diagnosed with these tumors, ES remains a significant cause of cancer-related death. Moreover, current therapies are highly toxic and result in profound morbidities that substantially reduce quality of life and life expectancy for ES survivors. Thus, novel less toxic approaches to therapy ...

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Dr. Jack Leonard Dr. Jack Leonard - University of Massachusetts Medical School

Pediatric brain tumors like astrocytoma/glioblastoma account for about 8% of childhood cancer but are responsible for up to 25% of pediatric cancer deaths. There is no effective treatment and radiotherapy, a common therapeutic option, appears to do more harm than good. A universal property of cancer and pediatric gliomablastoma is uncontrolled growth, and beta-catenin is the intracellular signaling molecule responsible for cell proliferation. We discovered a new, essential component of the ...

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Dr. Jeff Magee Dr. Jeff Magee - St. Louis Children's Hospital

Acute myeloid leukemia is a difficult to treat subtype of pediatric leukemia. New therapeutic strategies are necessary to improve survival and to reduce toxicity. Leukemia cells divide extensively, often by activating genes that regulate normal blood-forming stem cells. We have identified several genes that are highly expressed in stem cells relative to other blood cells. We are evaluating these genes for roles in both normal blood formation and in leukemia development. We identified Dusp4 as a ...

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Dr. Leo Mascarenhas Dr. Leo Mascarenhas - Children's Hospital Los Angeles

This is a pilot clinical trial investigating the combination of vinorelbine, actinomycin-D and cyclophosphamide in the treatment of adolescents and young adults with rhabdomyosarcoma. Adolescents and young adults have a much poorer prognosis when compared to children with rhabdomyosarcoma. The reasons for this are multifactorial and include higher incidence of unfavorable histology, more advanced disease at presentation, lack of uniformity in treatment protocols and a variety of socioeconomic ...

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Dr. Linda McAllister-Lucas Dr. Linda McAllister-Lucas - Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone, strikes mainly children during their early and mid teenage years. Although it is the most common primary bone tumor of childhood, there have been few advances in treatment – which entails long courses of toxic chemotherapy, radiotherapy, bone-removal surgery and rehabilitation, and, in some cases, amputation – and survival outcomes have not changed in more than 20 years. The 5-year survival rate for patients with localized osteosarcoma is about 70%, but the ...

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Dr. Javier Oesterheld Dr. Javier Oesterheld - Carolina's Medical Center - Levine Children's Hospital

As Director of Developmental Therapeutics (DVL) at The Torrence E. Hemby, Jr. Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center at Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH), I’ve seen the devastating effects of childhood cancer and the burden it places on patients and their families. Since its inception, the goal of the DVL program has been to develop, research and deliver new Phase I and II clinical trials locally, ultimately allowing for all patients and families to receive the compassionate cancer care they ...

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Dr. Kimberly Payne Dr. Kimberly Payne - Loma Linda University Medical Center

Cancer is still a death sentence for 1 in 5 children with the most common childhood leukemia. In 2009, a particularly deadly form of this disease was identified. This is especially important to us at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital because Hispanic and Native American Children who make up the majority of our pediatric patients are five times more likely to have this aggressive form of leukemia than other children. Our work shows that this type of deadly leukemia can be activated by chemicals in ...

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Dr. Agne Petrosiute Dr. Agne Petrosiute - Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, a disease that continues to cause significant and unacceptable morbidity and mortality despite advances in aggressive combinational therapy. A new approach to treat this devastating disease is much needed. Recently, immunotherapy – a therapy that uses the immune system cells to target cancer cells - has emerged as a potentially potent treatment options for many cancers. Our ultimate goal is to provide immunotherapy as an ...

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Dr. Natasha Pillay Smiley Dr. Natasha Pillay Smiley - Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital

In the United States, approximately 3,500 children and adolescents are diagnosed with a brain tumor each year. Recent advances in treatment and technology have extended the average survival rates for more children. Subsequently, the long-term health of survivors has gained attention in recent years. Dr. Pillay Smiley, a fourth year neuro-oncology fellow at Lurie Children’s who will join the neuro-oncology team as a full time faculty member at the completion of her fellowship, believes that ...

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Dr. Praveen Raju Dr. Praveen Raju - Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children and a leading cause of
cancer-related death in children. More than one-third of afflicted children die within five years despite
treatment that includes surgery, whole brain and spine radiation, and chemotherapy with the surviving
patients often suffering from severe neurological deficits due to the toxicity of these intensive therapies. A
subset of medulloblastoma patients that are deemed ‘high risk’ have been found to ...

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Dr. Sridhar Rao Dr. Sridhar Rao - Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) remains a significant clinical problem in pediatric oncology, with an overall survival of approximately 50%, even in the face of highly toxic therapies. This emphasizes the need for more targeted, less-harmful therapies. Recent genome-wide approaches have illustrated that AML is a genetically heterogeneous disease, with a wide range of mutations in different patients. This illustrates that “driver” mutations likely create a “context”, or genetic milieu that ...

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Dr. Chittalsinh M. Raulji Dr. Chittalsinh M. Raulji - Children's Hospital New Orleans

Gliobalstoma Multiforme (GBM) is a malignant and one of the most aggressive brain tumors. It is one of the most common brain tumors overall with 9,000 cases in the US annually. Seizures are common in these type brain tumors and are very difficult to treat, which increases the morbidity and mortality. Also, some seizures may be resistant to multiple drug treatments. The seizures arise as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the peritumoral regions. The seizures cause brain damage and ...

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Dr. Kathleen Sakamoto Dr. Kathleen Sakamoto - Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

Although the survival of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has improved to 80-90% 5-year survival, it is becoming increasingly known that there are significant side effects and long-term complications of treatment. In addition, for the 10-20% of children who relapse, there are very few treatment options except for stem cell transplantation, which is associated with a high rate of complications and even death. Therefore, it is critical to identify new approaches to treat ALL that ...

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Dr. Pradeep Sathyanarayana Dr. Pradeep Sathyanarayana - Maine Children's Cancer Program

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) refers to a heterogeneous group of malignancies with marked variability in their pathobiological features and clinical responses to therapy. According to Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer statistics review, approximately 20% of childhood leukemias are of myeloid origin and they represent a spectrum of hematopoietic malignancies. Approximately 14,590 people will be diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2013 and 10,370 will die from their ...

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Dr. Elias Sayour Dr. Elias Sayour - University of Florida

Current treatments for children with refractory brain tumors fail to control their disease necessitating the development of new treatments that will cure these tumors without hurting the patient. We propose harnessing the immune system to help fight and eradicate these tumors though the use of nanotechnology. Nanoparticles are small enough to deliver information to the immune system teaching it to fight cancer. We have pioneered suitable cancer vaccines from as few as 100 tumor cells, ...

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Dr. Joshua Schiffman - Primary Children’s Medical Center

In the past decade, tremendous progress has been made in our understanding of genetic changes in tumors and our ability to analyze these alterations. Unfortunately, most children who relapse from cancer will ultimately die from their disease. Using new genomic technologies, oncologists have identified genetic alterations in tumors that respond to targeted therapies. Many institutions have now implemented genomic profiling in tumors from adults, and sometimes children, too. The ability to accurately profile tumors for DNA alterations holds great promise for the treatment of relapsed cancer. However, like many ...

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Dr. Sadhna Shankar Dr. Sadhna Shankar - Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children

Survival remains low among children with non-metastatic osteosarcoma who show poor response to initial chemotherapy. Modifying therapy after initial treatment in poor responders has not changed these outcomes. Predicting poor responders at the time of initial diagnosis could lead to alternative therapies at the outset, which could improve survival.
Genetic variation may account for the wide variation seen in the response and toxicity related to chemotherapeutic agents. Conflicting results have ...

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Dr. Neerav Shukla Dr. Neerav Shukla - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Shukla and his team seek to identify and develop novel agents for the treatment of Rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive childhood cancer.

 

Dr. Kimberly Stegmaier Dr. Kimberly Stegmaier - Dana Farber Cancer Institute

A new class of drugs targeting chromatin regulating proteins has entered clinical trials for adults with cancer. These chromatin regulating proteins control the “marks” on DNA and the histone proteins around which DNA is wound. Our laboratory discovered that the pediatric solid tumor neuroblastoma was one of the most sensitive diseases to BET bromodomain inhibitors, a new type of chromatin regulating drug. We also discovered that amplification of the gene MYCN, a frequent and poor-prognostic ...

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Dr. Lucie Turcotte Dr. Lucie Turcotte - University of Minnesota Cancer Center - Amplatz Children's Hospital

Autologous transplantation is utilized in the setting of many high-grade pediatric malignancies. This therapy involves giving marrow ablative doses of chemotherapy, followed by autologous stem cell rescue, resulting in a prolonged period of immune system perturbation and reconstitution. While this therapy offers the potential of cure in otherwise difficult to treat diseases, it can be associated with both short- and long-term health consequences. While much research has been performed looking at ...

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Dr. Tina Udaka Dr. Tina Udaka - Rady Children’s Hospital

Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Recent studies have demonstrated that there are four subgroups of the disease that differ from one another in terms of both molecular characteristics and patient outcomes. Despite these distinctions, all MB patients currently receive the same therapy, including surgery, radiation and high-dose chemotherapy. Although these treatments have allowed many patients to survive, approximately one-third of MB patients still die ...

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Dr. Randal Wada Dr. Randal Wada - Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women and Children

The Hawaii Cord Blood Bank is housed at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children and is an independent, non-profit, community service organization whose mission is to support measures aimed at improving patient access to transplant, including the collection and public banking of umbilical cord blood from Hawaii’s ethnically diverse population.

Additional funding for this program will enable us to continue and expand the established program. During the previous funding period we ...

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Dr. Hong-Gang Wang Dr. Hong-Gang Wang - Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease characterized by failure of differentiation of myeloid cells and accumulation of immature precursors in blood and bone marrow. Although significant improvements in survival have been achieved for children and adolescents with AML, a significant proportion (20-25%) of patients will eventually relapse and have a poor prognosis. Moreover, a large number of patients suffer from adverse side effects due to very intensive chemotherapy. Thus, ...

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Dr. Dan Wechsler Dr. Dan Wechsler - Duke University School of Medicine

Improving the outcome of aggressive childhood leukemias depends on developing new targeted treatments. Our laboratory studies a mutant gene called CALM-AF10 that causes high-risk leukemias in children. We determined that the oncogenic properties of CALM-AF10 depend on its interaction with a partner protein called CRM1. We will first examine the molecular mechanisms by which CRM1 enables CALM-AF10 to cause leukemias. These studies will provide insight into the biology of CRM1 and help understand ...

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Dr. Susanne Wells Dr. Susanne Wells - Cincinnati Children's Hospital

A person’s genome, contained within each cell in our bodies, is continuously damaged by natural or artificial toxic chemicals. Resulting genome breaks must therefore be continuously repaired. Each of us is born with a distinct ability – better or worse – to repair breaks and therefore to keep their genome stable. Children with unstable genomes are at a high risk of early cancer development such as leukemia or solid tumors. Furthermore, once those children have cancer, they will experience very ...

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Dr. Darrell Yamashiro Dr. Darrell Yamashiro - Columbia University Medical Center

The overall goal of my research has been to develop new therapies for children with neuroblastoma. We have discovered that the gene ATF5 (activating transcriptional factor 5) is critical to the survival of neuroblastoma. Inhibition of ATF5 in brain tumor cells results in massive cell death and in mice brain tumors can cause near complete disappearance. My collaborators, Drs. Angelastro and Greene, have designed a novel inhibitor of ATF5 that has the potential to be used therapeutically. It takes ...

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Dr. Muxiang Zhou Dr. Muxiang Zhou - Aflac Center of Children’s Healthcare Atlanta

Our early studies found that ALL cells from pediatric patients with drug resistance show an overexpression of MDM2. Our recent drug discovery studies identified a small-molecular compound called AQ-126 that can target MDM2 for degradation, resulting in inhibition of XIAP and activation of p53, which induces potent apoptosis of ALL cells in vitro. Initial animal studies in a human ALL/SCID mouse model indicate AQ-126 effected a cure at about 150 days, after only 2 weeks of AQ-126 treatment, while ...

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