News & Events

Expert in cancer immunotherapy joins Stanford Medicine faculty

Cancer immunotherapy expert Crystal Mackall, MD, joined the Stanford University School of Medicine on Jan. 1 as a professor of pediatrics and of medicine, as well as associate director of the Stanford Cancer Institute and co-medical director of the Stanford Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine. More Info »

Story of family's tumor donation inspires more donations

With the donated tissue, a Stanford team has created the first cell line and mouse model of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a deadly tumor. More Info »

$510,000 awarded to Stanford researchers to help fight childhood cancer

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-powered and donor-centered charity dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, is proud to award a total of $510,000 in grants to researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford to support research that is looking to find cures and better treatments for pediatric cancers. More Info »

Heroes of the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders

Pediatrics Awards Day - Clinical Excellence (mid and senior career)

Congratulations to Norman Lacayo, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.  Leadership in clinical improvements above and beyond current role and responsibilities. Examples include, but are not limited to, clinical excellence, leadership of clinical effectiveness initiatives and projects (identifying best/leading practice, developing and implementing a target initiative in the context of PQMS—safe, family-centered, high value (improving quality, service and affordability), innovative and implementation or development of new approaches to clinical care.

Pediatrics Awards Day - Basic Science Research Award

Congratulations to Julien Sage, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. Each year the Department will recognize one of its members in an area of basic science research for her/his scientific achievement in the past year.  Typically, this achievement will be a peer-reviewed publication, but other achievements may be recognized if they can be demonstrated to be pertinent to advancing biomedical research. 

Jacob, the Leukemia Slayer - Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health

Charles Gawad, MD, PhD, former fellow, selected for a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists (CAMS)

Congratulations to Charles Gawad, MD, PhD, one of our former fellows and instructors who has been selected for a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists (CAMS). CAMS is a highly competitive program which awards physician- scientists who are committed to an academic career, to bridge advanced postdoctoral/fellowship training and the early years of faculty service.

PCRF supports our fight against childhood cancer

San Mateo: Family of 5-year-old girl with cancer looks to help others

PALO ALTO -- Joysse Alvarado and her parents went to Disneyland in March to celebrate a happy milestone: It had been one year since doctors declared the little girl was free of cancer. One week later, the family was blindsided during a routine checkup. Her leukemia had returned.

Now Joysse, 5, must endure another, even more grueling, round of chemotherapy. If that doesn't work, the San Mateo preschooler will likely need a bone-marrow transplant. There is no promise of a cure.

Porteus receives $1M stem cell grant for ‘bubble boy disease’

Matthew Porteus, MD, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine, was awarded $1 million today from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to pursue a stem-cell-based gene therapy approach to correcting a form of severe combined immunodeficiency (also known as SCID, or “bubble boy disease”) in humans.

Tumor suppressor also inhibits key property of stem cells, researchers say

A protein that plays a critical role in preventing the development of many types of human cancers has been shown also to inhibit a vital stem cell property called pluripotency, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

5 Questions: Maria Grazia Roncarolo on advances in gene therapy

After leading successful clinical trials of gene therapy in Milan, Roncarolo hopes to build on that success at Stanford through collaboration with colleagues in the fields of genetics and stem cell science.

Gene therapy, a technique in which doctors attempt to treat a disorder by inserting a gene into a patient’s cells, is undergoing something of a rebirth. Since the death 16 years ago of a U.S. patient who was in a clinical trial for gene therapy, scientists and physicians have worked to better understand the technique and develop methods for making it safer.

New way of genome editing could cure hemophilia in mice; may be safer than older method, study shows

The ability to pop a working copy of a faulty gene into a patient’s genome is a tantalizing goal for many clinicians treating genetic diseases. Now, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have devised a new way to carry out this genetic sleight of hand.

Leading stem-cell expert to join Stanford Medicine faculty

Maria Grazia Roncarolo will lead efforts to translate scientific discoveries in regenerative medicine into novel patient therapies, including treatments based on stem cells and gene therapy.

Scout's honor: Teen overcomes limitations of sickle cell anemia to attain Eagle rank

Rahman Humphries was trying to pass a 100-yard swimming test on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. He dreamed of achieving the highest award that the Boy Scouts offer, but he was struggling to make the distance.

Alessandra Villagomez and her medical journey with Burkitt Leukemia

The Fight Of His Life

Jose Rocha is like almost every other student: He loves his truck and the freedom that driving represents. He goes to the gym. As a high school senior, he’s beginning to think about life beyond San Benito High School.  

It’s November and eight months from graduation. Rocha goes to the gym three times a day – in the morning before school, after he gets home and late at night. The energy from his workouts buoys him through his morning classes. So the normally enthusiastic Rocha, 18,  is confused in December when he starts to feel a tremendous pain in his back. He twists and stretches but the pain won’t leave.

Cancer-free at five

Nathan Alonso has endured more than a year in and out of the hospital undergoing chemotherapy and radiation sessions, but it’s impossible to tell by looking at him that this type of treatment sickens most patients and zaps them of their energy.

In fact, Nathan, at 5 years old, exhibits the same boundless zeal and eagerness to play as any child his age. One recent afternoon he ran a few laps around the playground at his family’s Morgan Hill apartment complex, racing against his brother Xavi, 3, and father Jonathan Alonso. In between laps, he was distracted by a new remote-controlled car that he wanted to teach Xavi how to operate.

Brandon Belt makes good on home run promise for cancer survivor

Lyndsey Dworkin woke up Saturday morning, climbed out of bed and asked her mom a question. "Did that all really happen last night?" she wondered. "Otherwise, I just had the craziest dream." It was real, her mom assured her. Every magical moment. Brandon Belt really did tell the 12-year-old cancer survivor that he would hit a home run for her at the San Jose Giants game. And Belt really did deliver in the first inning, blasting a towering shot over the right-field fence at Municipal Stadium. 

Stanford University Investigators Awarded Grant for Children's Cancer Research

CureSearch for Children's Cancer this week awarded Kathleen Sakamoto, MD, PhD, and Irv Weissman, MD, of the Stanford University School of Medicine a $1.37 million grant to research the effects of an antibody known to help a patient's immune system rid the body of cancer cells. If successful, their work will lead to a new approach to treat childhood cancer and improve both the overall survival and quality of life for children with cancer.

Neural activity promotes brain plasticity through myelin growth, researchers find

The brain is a wonderfully flexible and adaptive learning tool. For decades, researchers have known that this flexibility, called plasticity, comes from selective strengthening of well-used synapses — the connections between nerve cells.

Ten scholars receive Specturm clinical research training awards

Ten Stanford University scholars have been accepted into programs designed to advance their careers as clinical and translational researchers, which includes Katharine Brock, MD, a pediatric hematology/oncology fellow.

The research-training programs are managed by Spectrum, the Stanford Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Education. Six scholars will join the KL2 Mentored Career Development Program, which provides senior fellows and junior faculty in health-related professions with financial support and advanced training in clinical and translational research.

Young cancer survivor becomes top junior golfer: 12-year-old helps raise money for leukemia research, treatment

Grace Chen, 12, of Sunnyvale, Calif., was discussing how, since recovering from childhood leukemia, she can go to school, hang out with friends, watch TV — basically have a normal life. Well, mostly normal. There aren't many other girls her age who can hit a golf ball 230 yards.

With 25 trophies scattered around her house, it's obvious that Grace has the whole golf thing down. It's been that way since she was 6 and in recovery from years of treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia, or ALL, at the Bass Center for Cancer and Childhood Blood Diseases at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Grant will allow researchers to study cancer that strikes young transplant recipients

Prediction and early detection of a high-risk form of childhood cancer are the goals of an ambitious new study led by scientists at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the School of Medicine.

The study, funded by a $6.9 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, targets a form of cancer that strikes children who have received solid organ transplants. Because they take immune-suppressing medications to keep their transplanted organs safe, these children are vulnerable to a cancer caused by an inappropriate immune-system response to a common virus.

Immune cells engineered in lab to resist HIV infection, Stanford study shows

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found a novel way to engineer key cells of the immune system so they remain resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

A new study describes the use of a kind of molecular scissors to cut and paste a series of HIV-resistant genes into T cells, specialized immune cells targeted by the AIDS virus. The genome editing was made in a gene that the virus uses to gain entry into the cell. By inactivating a receptor gene and inserting additional anti-HIV genes, the virus was blocked from entering the cells, thus preventing it from destroying the immune system, saidMatthew Porteus, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford and a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

Drug shortage linked to greater risk of relapse in young Hodgkin lymphoma patients

A national drug shortage has been linked to a higher rate of relapse among children, teenagers and young adults with Hodgkin lymphoma enrolled in a national clinical trial, according to research led by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Estimated two-year cancer-free survival for patients enrolled in the study fell from 88 to 75 percent after the drug cyclophosphamide was substituted for mechlorethamine for treatment of patients with intermediate- or high-risk Hodgkin lymphoma. The study was launched before the drug shortages began. The change occurred after a mechlorethamine shortage began in 2009. No study patients have died, but those who relapsed received additional intensive therapy that is associated with higher odds for infertility and other health problems later.

Successful treatment gives 10-year-old plenty to sing about

Ten-year-old Reagan Claire Smith is happy that people know her for her singing, rather than for being sick.

The Atherton resident co-wrote and sings "I Wanna Know" in her new YouTube andiTunes hit. The upbeat song asks questions about life's marvels, from shooting stars to sunrises, and may reflect some of the insights she gained during her illness and subsequent treatment at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

Hoops 4 Hope

More than 300 participants raised over $80,000 for Hoops 4 Hope! Thanks to your support, we're that much closer in the fight against childhood cancer. You can still make a gift online or send in donations, too.

Check out video from the event!

Treatment for Life

Twenty years ago, a child diagnosed with cancer faced a short life filled with toxic chemicals, long hospital stays, and multiple surgeries. Treatment took a “one-size-fits-all” approach, and the goal was remission rather than cure. Download the Fall Issue